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Posts tagged mindful bride
Gratitude. An excerpt from The Empire Citizen
  • I am so grateful to live in the same city as my family.
  • I am grateful that, even though my parents are divorced, we all still get together on holidays.
  • I am grateful for our universal appreciation of dorky puns.
  • I am grateful for my niece’s big, round eyes when I try to surprise her with silly questions, before she realizes I'm joking and starts to giggle.
  • I’m so grateful she loves holding hands for no reason.
  • I am grateful that (when you’re four years old) one of the most exciting things in life, is simply to run as fast as you can.
  • I am grateful to share these moments with my sister. We exchange a look and know we’re both smiling about the same observation.
  • I am grateful to see my parents being nana & papa – to see how much joy that brings them.

Take 20 Seconds & Try This Out:

  • Take a deep, loud breath, like a big sigh
  • Finish this sentence: “I am grateful for…"
  • Close your eyes & picture what you’re grateful for
  • FEEL the gratitude in your body – breathe deeply into that feeling
  • Now open your eyes.

Go ahead.  How was that?  Were you able to think of something? 

Was it coffee? Your comfy bed? Your parents’ health? The sound of your kids laughing? Pizza? Your good taste and sense of humour?  As you prepare for the rest of your day, take these 20 seconds for yourself.

If you're feeling grateful for this oasis in your day, sign-up for my newsletter! You'll receive my take on mindfulness for moms (and dads), self-care for brides (and grooms), and happy, healthy lifestyle tips for starseeds, lovers, seekers, and kitchen-dance-party aficionados alike. Plus, you'll receive first-dibs on popular photo dates, holiday promos, and anything else I can think of to serve you joy. Sign Up Here!

Check out more on gratitude lists in this post, where I reflect on not getting killed on my trip to Kenya. 

Learn more about what's included in my exciting and awesome newsletter right here!

Gratitude Lists: I am grateful for not getting eaten by a Lion.

In 2009 I lived on a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya. For three months, I slept alone in a safari tent and every night a pride of lions gathered outside my tent and roared. I was lonely and scared. I made sure not to drink any fluids with dinner, so I wouldn’t have to walk to the bathroom hut after dark.

Last week I published my first official newsletter, and the topic was Gratitude. It’s Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d take the chance to expand on that a bit.

But first...

A pride of lions at sunset, waiting to see what mom brings home for dinner... I hope it's not me!

A pride of lions at sunset, waiting to see what mom brings home for dinner... I hope it's not me!


After a month of sleepless nights, the lions moved on and my terror subsided... Until one day I had to take a trip to Nairobi, by myself, on public transit. For non-getting-eaten-by-lion reasons, people traveling between cities didn’t move around after dark: car-jacking at gunpoint. An actual, for-real threat. Crazy, right? Again, I was scared. I left in the early morning; took my trip and was greeted at my destination by a friendly face. All went well, and at the end of my third month, I came home to Toronto. 

What does this have to do with Gratitude? 

Sometimes, when my mind is racing with the to-do list, current events, irritations, or worries about the future, I get out my journal and do a simple activity: I write five things I’m grateful for, and five things I appreciate about myself. 

Ten things is a lot, and sometimes I run out of ideas. And it’s in that moment, I find myself writing, “I am grateful for living in a safe city where I can move around freely, without threat.” Even though it’s something I hardly ever think about, when it comes up on my list, the feeling in my heart is an overwhelming WOW. I am so lucky. 

So what does gratitude have to do with weddings & family photography? 

Getting there! You see, it has to do with life. In my attempt to be proactive about emotional health, I got into this little gratitude ritual and discovered that it actually works! It’s great for any time… But if nothing else, times of stress are when it’s most helpful. And let’s be real: holidays, family time, and big life changes and events (i.e. weddings) are both WONDERFUL and STRESSFUL.

Try This Out: 

  • Grab a piece of paper and write 1-10 things you’re grateful for

  • If you can think of 1, 3, 5 or 15, that’s okay

  • Try this at night right before you sleep.

Looking across the savannah, at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. One of the most challenging and transformative three months of my life. 

Looking across the savannah, at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. One of the most challenging and transformative three months of my life. 


I am forever grateful for the opportunity to go to Kenya. Despite the fear and loneliness, I learned what I was made of that summer. My eyes were opened to issues ranging from global poverty, cutting edge environmental and community development projects, to what it means to have white privilege. At the same time, I made interesting friends and had indescribable adventures exploring the savannah.


Click Connect below to let me know what you think and read a description of my newsletter offerings right here. 

Sign up for the Sweetheart Empire Newsletter - the Empire Citizen!
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Hello friends,

I wanted to give you a heads up that I've started a newsletter! Yes, indeed, I have lots to say. :) If you're curious about the content, here's a link to past issues, here's a link to subscribe, and below are my reasons for this endeavour: 

There are two phrases I constantly hear in my work:

“The whole wedding day went by in a flash – I can’t even remember it!”

“Kids grow up so fast – I can’t believe they started school this year!”

Both of these express the same concern: being present and experiencing life as it’s happening.

I created the newsletter with tips to help you Be in the moment during life's big (and small) moments, and not miss out.

Whether you’re worried about being too stressed to enjoy your wedding, or shocked that your child isn’t a baby anymore, I got you. Using simple techniques of reflection, gratitude, breathing, and photography, you can be there to appreciate all the stages of life. 

Subscribers to the newsletter also get exclusive access to printed gifts and promotions, as well as first rights to popular session dates throughout the year. Pretty awesome, right? If you're thinking, "Yes – I'm into this!" then here's what to expect...

Two short letters per month with:

  • Right of first refusal to popular weekend sessions
  • Concise tips on mindfulness & emotional presence
  • Exclusive package offerings, printed gifts & promotions
  • A link to new work or a few photos to brighten your day...

The laws of the land: 

  • Only 2 emails each month
  • I will never share your contact info
  • Opt-out any time by clicking unsubscribe

Judgment-Free Territory

If you no longer want to be a "citizen" of Sweetheart Empire, just unsubscribe. I'll still think of you as a citizen of though, because that's just how I roll. Also, I don't judge because inboxes are cray-cray so only say yes to what brings you Joy (at least for newsletters).

How to keep h'anger at bay, on your wedding day.

My boyfriend used to wish he had one of those portable flashing lights for the top of the car, for two situations: when I had my period, and when I was hungry. Though there are limited options for wedding day menstruation (hmm, definitely a potential article there), when it comes to avoiding the "hangry" wedding day, your options are many! 

This article contains two simple tips, and one wedding day to-do list of what to pack to stay fresh all day: 


Even for the chillest couples, the wedding is a big day. When was the last time you invited all your people to come and look and talk to you all at once? It's wedding-day-hangry just waiting to happen! Besides the emotional/spiritual/life milestone taking place, you’ve got a lot to think about and that takes energy. 


Drink water to keep your energy up!  

Many brides are afraid they’ll have to pee and avoid drinking water on the wedding day. Don’t do that! 

Staying hydrated will help you keep your energy up. I know, from the experience of shooting weddings, water gives you a boost and keeps your endurance up so you can smile allllllllllll day long (and still party into the night). 

Also, it’ll make you smell better: you might get nervous and sweat a lot, but if you stay hydrated your body and your breath will thank you! (A quick googling of dehydration and body odour/bad breath can tell you why.)   


Have snacks on hand! 

Nothing brings on irritability, anxiety, and exhaustion like low blood sugar. Don’t leave it to chance when it comes to staying in a good mood on your wedding day!

Keep snacks on hand for yourself and houseguests, i.e. bridesmaids getting ready at your place. Besides brunch, make sure there are snacks you can force yourself to eat if you get too nervous or stressed out for a full meal.  


Things to consider / pack: 

  • Straws for sipping, to protect lipstick

  • Lipstick touch-up colour from makeup artist, for after she’s left.

  • Smoothie or liquid meal that you can sip (alternate with water if you get a dry mouth)

  • Small bites of fruit & some sort of bib – no blackberry juice on the wedding dress!

  • Granola bars (soft as opposed to hard and crumbly)

  • Halloween-sized chocolate bars or small cookies in a zip-lock

  • Yoghurt drinks (get that probiotic in while you're at it ;))

  • Juice boxes

  • Wet wipes for hands

  • Someone you trust, who’s as obsessive as you are, to check that there’s no food in your teeth. None of this “you’re fine you’re fine” when they haven’t even looked!


Basically, you need food and drink that takes minimum effort to open, and can be carried with you. And possibly a case of water bottles for your bridal party/family, if you are traveling together in a limo or having a big photo session somewhere away from immediate access to water… Especially in the summer, guys!!! Please! I know plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment, but this is one of those times you might forget your S’well.  


You got this!!

Between morning coffee with your BFFs, and a champagne toast (or three) you need to keep your wits about you. You don’t want to get drunk or shaky, right before you say “I do”. Take care your body with water and snacks, and no portable flashing lights will be needed! 


Look beautiful, no food in teeth, laughing head off... Check!