Monthly Archives: October 2012

I love Zombies!

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I cannot say when my love for the undead started, but out of all the creatures that go bump in the night, zombies are my favourite!  The decaying flesh, life after death, carnal desire to consume, I love them!  I have zombie video games, books and movies and I can ready, play or watch them any time of the year.  Obviously I watch the very popular Walking Dead and even watched the Deadliest Warrior battle between vampires and zombies. I have read Max Brook’s Zombie Survival Guide and have video games where I get to be a survivor of the zombie apocalypse.  Here are just a few of my favourite Zombie movies!

  1. 28 Days Later.  These zombies are fast, vicious and best of all, infected with Rage.  I really enjoyed that we were able to see how the zombies came to be and see how humanity responds.
  2. Shaun of the Dead.  What can I say, Simon Pegg is a comedic genius and this movie combines comedy and the undead!
  3. The Crazies.  With 28 Days Later it was an animal testing lab, but with The Crazies it’s a plane with a biotoxin.  This toxin turns people slowly from peaceful humans to crazy slaughtering nightmares.  Love it!
  4. Land of the Dead.  This movie takes place after humans have built a wall around a city to keep the zombies out and what monsters lurk inside.  A great combination of comedy and action.
  5. Zombieland.  Another comedy, but Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson make the living dead a dead hoot!

Getting Ready for Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy has hit Toronto and while I prepared by making sure we were stocked up with candles, first aid supplies and matches, I didn’t bother telling the Princess as it would just cause unnecessary worry.   I knew that other areas would be hit harder than we would, it wouldn’t hurt to safe.  I picked up the Princess as usual but she was panicked and told me we needed to get home as soon as possible because we would “blow away and the city would be destroyed.” I stooped down and asked her what was wrong.  She explained to me that her teacher had told them about the Frankenstorm that was coming our way and Princess was afraid.  I explained to her that it was going to be no worse than any other storm we had experienced.  I hugged her and took her home as fast as I could.  I knew she was upset and being at home would make her feel much better.  The entire time she kept insisting we were in peril and despite my best efforts to calm her, she was sure that we would be hurt in this storm.

I then sat her down and explained that I had endured the Ice Storm of 1998.  I told her that for almost 20 days, we were without power and I had 17 relatives living in my home.  She sat there in front of me enthralled by the thought of my surroundings covered in inches of ice, telephone poles collapsing like match sticks and no television.  I also explained that while it was very dangerous to be outside, it was also on of the best times I’ve ever had.  It was like living in the pioneer days.  We heated water on the wood stove, played games with my sisters and cousins and my dad only even cooked my sister’s birthday cake on the barbecue.  I told her that this storm would be nothing like that and while it may be scary, it was very unlikely anything bad would happen.  After that she seemed more at ease and even felt comfortable looking out the window to watch the wind blow in the trees.

This is not an image from my home back then, but just an idea of the amount of ice that hit Ontario, Quebec, some of the Eastern Provinces and some States.

She is now sleeping peacefully just as the wind outside is getting stronger.  Hubby and I are watching TV, checking the news periodically but knowing that we will be fine.  I understand that the teacher was probably just trying to inform the students about the storm that is happening, but somehow the Princess turned it into some sort of Perfect Storm-esque situation.

Just in Time for Halloween – Activities this Weekend in Toronto

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Halloween is only a week away and while most children are prepping themselves for the sugar coma they are about to endure and parents are saving for the cavities the dentists will have to fill.  In Toronto this weekend, there are some fun family orientated activities for people of all ages to enjoy!

  1. Alligator Pie.  Soulpepper’s Production will be putting on an hour-long play for the entire family to enjoy!
  2. Boo at the Zoo.   Whether its taking part in Critters and Costume parade or walking the Pumpkin Trail, this is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family
  3. Haunted High Park.  Come here are the ghostly tales and stories in High Park this Saturday from 6:30 – 7:30.
  4. Halloween Bed Race.  On the 27th from 10 – 1, closed off Bloor St will turn into a Halloween Bed Race.  Dress up in your costume and come for some fun!
  5. Haunted Walk of Old Toronto.  Take a late night tour Old Toronto and hear all the haunting stories that Toronto has to offer!

Here are just a few, but there are many more events in Toronto happening this weekend!

The Halloween Costume Dilemma

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This year is the first year that the Princess will be choosing what she wants to be for Halloween.  Her first year she was the most adorable Lady Bug and last year she was Madonna.  My friend has two boys and they went as Elvis and Tommy Lee and our musical menagerie were just too cute!  My friend made the costume with a nothing more than a body suit, fabric glitter, lace and sticky jewels.  I added the hair piece and the tell-tale beauty mark and she captured the hearts of all the people whose door she knocked on.  Frankly, I think she was more of a treat than a trick!

Now this year, the Princess has been flip-flopping between Pirates and Vampires, Zombies and Princess’ (go figure!)  Now Hubby wants her to go as a zombie, while I think she would make an adorable vampire, but the Princess can’t seem to make up her mind.  We were given a princess costume that would be very nice, however, for those of you aware of Canadian Halloween’s, the costume doesn’t quite look the same with a snow suit underneath.  What was once a cute princess costume quickly turns into the Pilsbury Dough Boy.  I remember my mother always picking out our costumes and we always looked like pudgy versions of what we were going as.  One year I went as Xena the Warrior Princess and with my snow suit underneath, I was Xena the buffet Princess.  Just not a good look.  Oh the dilemma!

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I am 1 in 4

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Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  And I am 1 in 4 women around the world that have suffered a miscarriage.  Today I will be going to a candle lighting at Trillium Hospital in Missisauga to commemorate my angel Emery and to support other women and their families who have suffered this loss as well.  My Princess said something that warmed my heart and let me know that Emery was still with us.

“Mommy, Emery is not with the angels,” she said looking out the window.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Mommy, Emery is in the trees, I can see her.  She makes the leaves move.” She looked back at me, smiled and then turned back to look at the trees.

Interview with Amanda Lazarski of Amanda Lazarski Portrait Photography

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Any parent will admit, we snap photos to hold onto the memories we cherish so deeply.  A single photo can illustrate a story that words cannot.  Some of us use our own camera’s or our smart phones, but sometimes we stumble across photographers who can truly capture the moment and make it look effortless.  I personally know of one whose photo’s speak for themselves.  Amanda Lazarski is a working mom of 3 precious children, owns her own successful photography business and manages to find the ultimate balance with stunning grace.  I will admit that I am slightly biased as Amanda and I have been friends since we were 14 years old and I was fortunate enough to attend her wedding as well as watching her at work as the go to photographer for my friends and family.

Based out of Trenton, Ontario, Amanda Lazarski provides many photography services such as Newborn, Maternity, Weddings, Family as well as Baby and Pregnancy Loss photography.  Amanda is affiliated with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, an organization that provides grieving families with beautiful photography in a compassionate setting.  With October being Pregnancy and Baby Loss Awareness Month, I know of many families that would greatly benefit from this type of service.

Why did you become a photographer? And why chose family portraitures?

I have always loved photographing others and locations, but what really pushed me was after the birth of my daughter 4 years ago, I realized how precious these moments are and how badly I wanted to capture them! I love photographing all stages, weddings, engagements, newborns and children. But now my focus tends to be more on Children and newborn portraits( Babies,Maternity,Families etc)

With 3 children of your own and one being a newborn, how do you find the balance between home life and work?

This is ALWAYS going to be tough like every job but I really think balance is key! Especially I have realized when you don’t have it everything starts to crumble. When I started out I spent way too much time photographing other families and very little on my own, through the years I have realized so much more is important, as my family really changes and grows I need to be able to devote myself to my little ones. Ages 8 months, 2 years and 4.

Do you draw inspiration from your own children?

Totally, the way you connect with a child and see who they are and their personality inspires me, and of course they are always my inspiration!

How has being a mom affected or influenced your work?

 I see things differently, even if the shot is not a smile, I understand that it may mean that it’s that sweet little expression that a parent can connect to and really cherishes when it’s captured.

The babies in your photo’s look so peaceful.  Tell me, what is your secret?  All the mom’s are dying to know.

Patience, although little ones are always sleepy in the shots, the outtakes can sometimes be a bit more revealing. Typically newborns sessions take anywhere from 2-4 hours in length, so you have to wait it out. Also practicing, I have been photographing newborns now for 4+ years, attended workshops, been mentored on posing, techniques and more, it takes time and a lot of dedication to get those sleepy shots parents adore!

How do you think being a working mom has transformed your parenting?

Hmmm this one is tough, there are pros and cons, I have had to cut back to maintain my family life currently with work, but I love being able to do something I am passionate about and stay home with my children, but supplement our income at the same time.

Can you give me a little background on your business?

We just re opened our studio back in the country where we live, after spending 2 years in a commercial studio space we decided it would be nice to be close to home and also have a bit more control over the hours of operation and area. My business I offer photography, professional products such as frames, albums, canvas, prints and more!

What tips can you offer parents wanting to take that “special” photo?

Capture life as it happens, and keep it simple! Over processing images can date them.

Are there any photographer’s that you admire? If so, who?

Totally! Memories By Marie, Karen Hunter Photography, Baby as Art, My Newborn is Art, Glow Portraits

Your pregnancy photo’s are stunning, what about it lead you to photograph it?

I have really went in a new direction lately just wanting to showcase the simplicity in the beauty of pregnancy, I think the fact that a new life is growing inside is just something remarkable and just needs to be captured. I myself did not have photographs taken when I was expecting with our daughter and until this day I still wish I had, and regretted that. Its one of those times in your life that is SO poignant in your memory.

Any advice on how to balance work and home life?

Trust your gut and watch your children, 9/10 times you CAN TELL! If you are not balancing your work life and home life, something is missing and everything will be off. When I am away too much my children miss me, and I miss them, their behaviour usually changes as well and they have a hard time coping. I also find that I feel like I am running around too much and not getting to “stop and smell the roses” and just enjoy life and them being little.

Be sure to check out Amanda Lazarski Photography on Facebook and on Twitter.

Product Review – Ovulation Days Blackberry App

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As most of you are aware, I am trying to catch my rainbow and have become an ovulatory investigator.  I track my BBT (basal body temperature), CM (cervical mucus) and other ovulatory symptoms.  I will admit that I am horrendous at keeping track of all that information but after looking through the available app’s on my Blackberry, I found Ovulation Days.  Created by Sentinel Solutions, this is a free app that you can download onto your phone.

All you have to imput is your cycle length and the date of your last period and it will calculate when you are most likely to ovulate and when the best time to conceive is.  Obviously, red indicates your menstrual cycle, white indicates infertile times and green means its go time!  It also has symbols for if you are trying for a specific gender, although I’m not so sure how scientifically sound that is.  What I like most is that you are able to save notes such as your BBT, CM and if you are experiencing any moodiness, cramping, etc.  You are able to scroll through months and years to track your progress and it can be password protected so no one sees your personal information.

Here is its’ disclaimer;

The ovulation dates are calculated based on normal menstruation calculation logic for women having regular periods. This calendar works on simple calculation logic, so always consult with your doctor about pregnancy related matters. Women having irregular menstruation period are not advised to follow this calendar. You are advised to contact your doctor about any health related issue. Sentinel Solutions Ltd will not be responsible for consequences of any kind of wrong prediction of your ovulation or fertile days or accidental pregnancy.

   I would rate this a 4 out of 5 for ease of use and the fact it is free.