Tag Archives: photographychallenge

happy canada day + challenge recap

happy canada day, canadian friends!


because july 1st falls on a sunday this year, the retail world’s schedule is all topsy-turvy: stores are OPEN with the usual hours today, but everyone is CLOSED tomorrow, our store included. so, i will work today and enjoy a free day tomorrow!

canada day celebrations at columbia lake are being held today – any locals going over for the fun and games?? we have our annual loft-y rooftop bbq this eve, and when the fireworks show starts at 10 pm tonight, i’ll have prime viewing from the condo casa windows!


well, today is the first day in 30 days that we do not have an official photo of the day – the 30 photo challenge ended yesterday. and now we’re on to a new month! i july to pieces and hope we have a hot, humid, sunny month ahead of us.

tomorrow we will discuss july plans; today, we’re going to take a quick look back at the 30 day photo challenge – call it “the best and worst of,” if you will.

the top three favourite posts (i like when i can make myself chuckle as i blog-write!):

day #11: what’ll it be, what’ll it be…

day #13: as random as you can get

day #14: the eyes have it

the three entries that sucked were not that exciting:

day #7: unas manzanas -> i discovered i’d rather photograph scenery, shoes or people than fruit in a grocery store!

day #16: you can imagine a waterfall, ok? -> some anonymous person left a snarky “zzzz” comment on this one!

day #29: zero shades of grey -> i hate it when a plan fails to come together!

the two most labour-intensive days:

day #6: towering baby food -> building and dismantling my baby food wall took a good 20-30 minutes

day #18: classic -> arranging my shoe-flower was a half-hour job!

two entries that came together effortlessly:

day #5: look down, way down -> i knew i wanted to shoot this photo right from day one

day #22: the look of love -> first shot, and the emotion in the photo surpassed my hopes

one fun entry:

day #1: self-portrait -> i enjoyed making silly faces!

one major disappointment:

the unreliability of my little camera!

final thoughts:

i am super glad i took on the photography challenge. i expanded my vocabulary (bokeh! sunflare!) and i liked having a specific assignment to pursue for each day, yet still having lots of creative license to interpret as i wished (some days more than others!).

i thought we were presented with a good variety of subjects to go out and chase down. all scenery or all technical terms would have been boring.

i do not think i improved my skills, per se, but i did put more thought than usual into lighting and photo composition – i will try to keep these photography elements in mind from here on out.

there are a number of photo challenges out there if you just google “30 day photography challenge;” i would be interested in trying another one again some time…like, in a few months!

happy sunday, happy holiday!

ice ice baby

after having such success with wearing compression socks 24/7 frequently over the past couple of months, i decided to try something else that is vastly touted as a great recovery aid for runners.

the ice bath.

i’d been thinking of giving a cold water soak a try for a while now. when i saw this article in the latest canadian running magazine, i was even a little more motivated:

no idea why this photo is posting sideways…

i know the printing is blurry; the only thing that is important is that you see the title: “take cold baths.”

i’ve told you before that i do not swim because i do not enjoy being cold or wet. so you can guess how *excited* i was about my impending dip in the tub.

i decided to ease my way into these ice baths in incremental steps.

effort #1:

i took my first cold bath in the afternoon after the 10k classic race. in all honesty, it was bearable! i wouldn’t call it a pleasant experience, but i was comfortable enough, and i didn’t even come close to shivering! here’s what worked for me:

  • i made sure i was warm before i even got into the tub
  • i took a hot decaf coffee with me to drink while i soaked
  • i ran a tub of cold water only, no ice for this first attempt!
  • i wore a knit cap
  • i zipped up a fleecy jacket, rolling up the bottom so it wouldn’t get wet
  • i limited my tub time to 12 minutes

knit cap, fleece and coffee mug! (sorry, but i refuse to post any bathtub pictures!)

i just sat in the tub – no reading, no crossword puzzle or any type of diversion. it was almost a relaxing experience!

afterwards, my legs felt refreshed. now, i wasn’t stiff or sore before i got in the tub, so it’s a little hard to judge exactly how helpful the ice bath was in the post-race recovery. i decided that next time i could add some ice…

effort #2:

this second experiment occurred last saturday morning. this time, i kept the wool hat and the fleece hoodie. i skipped the hot coffee (i thought i’d wait for the heating drink until post-bath, so i’d have something to look forward to and warm me up if i felt chilled). and i added ice!

two trays of ice cubes – let’s not get too crazy with the ice; i am too cheap to BUY a bag, at this point…

the tap water felt colder this time (??) and enjoyably refreshing – might i even say fantastic? (yes, yes i can). i ran the tub, then dumped in the ice as i climbed in. i had no diversions (next time, i will try reading or doing a x-word) – i just sat and watched the ice cubes melt (seriously). i only stayed in the bath for 10 minutes as i had to get ready for work. next time, add: more ice! a distraction of some type! more time in the tub (can i do 20 minutes??).

effort #3:

i upped the ante for the ice bath that i took this past thursday morning:

SIX trays of ice (or 3x more than the last bath!) for this effort…

would you believe that as i was running along, i actually thought, “yea! i get to take an ice bath this morning!” -> i am not kidding!

since i had more time, i stayed in the tub for 15-20 minutes. i stuck with wearing the hoodie and the wool cap, did not have a hot beverage, and did complete a x-word puzzle [i thought of phoning mom, we can talk for 20 minutes no problem and that would fill my time commitment, but with my luck, i would drop the phone in the tubbetter a wet xword puzzle book than a busted phone].

thanks to the increase in ice cubes, the water was COLD! not frightfully so, but definitely icier than the first two tubs. really, i did not feel cold overall, though – just my toes were uncomfortably chilled!


  • i am going to make ice baths a regular thing – maybe every week??
  • it definitely helps that it is summertime and i feel warmer, in general; i can’t imagine doing an icy soak in the depths of january
  • the winning combo seems to be: wearing the fleece + the wool hat; drinking a hot coffee AFTER the bath, having a diversion (next time i will try reading)

all in all, this experiment has proven to be a lot more positive than i ever anticipated!

any other ice-bath takers out there? what are your tips? maybe i am not 100% opposed to doing some lane swimming again??…never say never, right?!


30 day photography challenge

day #30: self-portrait

and thus we have come full circle, and we end as we began on june 1st

the official self-portrait for today:

taken in the exact same spot as day #1! hotter weather, though!

…and some out-takes, just because they are fun to do! [i honestly thought i’d share more bloopers over the course of the 30 days…]:

my orange sweater is finished! but it’s way too warm to use a sweater photo for an official pic!

relaxing with some grass! 😀

wheee!!! fake-sliding at the park. would real-slide if the nieces were present!

sparkling water: the official beverage of the 2012 kiki summer!

the end.


zero shades of grey

30 day photography challenge

day #29: black and white

i am sure the photography challenge organizers wished for us to take a photo in black and white (as opposed to colour *film*) for today’s assignment. well, you guessed it, my point n shoot does not do that. so, i had to come up with another creative adaptation.

luckily, it is pretty easy to find black and white objects. i thought of featuring my kitchen countertop: it’s black and white granite and my favourite part of the kitchen design. then, i debated taking a pic down in our fitness room – there’s a weight station type-thing in there that is black and white. i intensely dislike doing strength training, so by snapping a photo of the torture multi-functional weights station, we could discuss strength training and such, and maybe motivate me to use that intimidating contraption.

however, i wasn’t totally sold on either of these photography possibilities…

earlier this week, vfbf joanne and i got together mid-day over at vincenzo’s [uptown’s version of whole foods for you out-of-towners]. as i was walking over, i realized our visit provided a great black and white opportunity –  i was sure i could capture many neat-o shots at vincenzo’s in the black and white theme. i laid out a whole sequence of photos in my mind’s eye.

call it mission successful just ten steps inside the door!

today’s official photo: white vinnie’s logo on a black tshirt! $14.99!

i searched out a black and white (cranberry-orange half dipped in chocolate) biscotti [tangent: anyone else remember the seinfeld black and white cookie episode?! so funny!] to munch on. i took out my camera to get a photo of it, the second photo for my black and white series – and nothing. camera dead!! argh! frustrated feelings set in. by coincidence, joanne happened to have on a black and white outfit (third lost photo opp)…boy, was i bummed. then, in the sweets display case, they had the cutest cookies n cream cupcake pops/little cakes on sticks. the black and white themes were all over the place! drat my bad camera luck.

jo and i headed to an outside table – the day was absolute perfection! no black or white clouds in the blue blue sky – and dumb camera absolutely refused to co-operate. i got out my blackberry and thought i’d use that to get my desired pics…well, i fiddled for a good five minutes (as i conversed in a distracted manner) and could not find the camera option. then all of a sudden, something clicked in my brain: here i was wasting time – all for the sake of a self-important photo challenge – when i could be chatting and visiting with my good friend. i set both the camera and the blackberry aside, and focussed on catching up with jojo and enjoying the brilliant weather.

well, at least my point n shoot allowed me to nab our official photo for today – i am grateful for that!

this weekend, i will begin the hunt for a new camera or a new battery…it’s time!


you know the free tshirt i ordered thanks to my honey nut cheerios purchase? well, olympics-themed canada flipflops are also available! however, to get those, you need to purchase cereal bars or granola bars…which bff debbie had on hand! being the bff that she is, debbie messaged me the top-secret codes, i submitted my order, and  flipflops should be arriving in 6-8 weeks!

yippee!! mission successful! a pic taken on my BLACKBERRY, uploaded to the BLOG.


today’s black and white theme reminded me of one of my favourite jokes from childhood:

q: what’s black and white and red all over?

a: a newspaper!!!

(hey, when you’re seven, that type of humour is absolutely hilarious! kinda like knock-knock jokes!).

happy friday, everyone! the canada day long weekend is almost here!

another chapter ends

30 day photography challenge

day #28: flowers

no idea what this orange flower is! help?!

there was absolutely no pre-planning to this photo, at all! little e and i were walking home from school on aunti day when we passed the neighbourhood corner store. this particular “mom and pop” shop sells the most beautiful assortment of fresh flowers. little e and i always pause to look them over and pick out our favourites. on this particular day, i just happened to say to e, “let’s get a picture!” and the result is what you see, above – our official photo for today. [i think memories of her recent dance recital were fresh in little e’s mind – don’t you love the dramatic arm placement!]. i never have little e or cutie c “pose” – it’s open camera, aim, shoot, hope for the best! and this snapshot turned out pretty darn cute, no?!

anyway, i realize the flowers (our theme) are more of a border to little e’s smiling face…but this photo fits in perfectly with my thoughts, today.

first, i love how e is missing a tooth right now. the hole-in-the-smile era is a short-lived one, but so significant in terms of marking a milestone in the growing-up years. and all children look so cute at this stage!

second, yesterday (aunti wednesday) was little e’s second last day of school, so my chauffeuring and meeting-the-bus duties are over for this school year. and since little e will be at the same school all day next year, we will never again have the same schedule as we have enjoyed together from september to yesterday. i am really feeling sentimental about this! of course, lots of fun awaits over the summer months and then looking ahead to a new fall routine, but it’s still a change, and i will really miss our routines and 1:1 time from the past nine months.

do you remember how old you were when you lost your front tooth/teeth? i just went through my photo albums trying to find my own toothless-grin examples and came up empty-handed! how can that be?! i am going to guess i was in grade one. mom, can you verify?!

somewhere, over the rainbow…

30 day photography challenge

day #27: from a distance

i confess that i took today’s official snapshot three weeks ago today, way back on wednesday june 6th. i was just leaving toronto after aunti wednesday, turning onto the gardiner expressway to head home, when look what i saw:

rainbows are always a remarkable sight

at that moment, my immediate thought was, “take a picture!” [notice the traffic light is red!] “you’ll be able to incorporate the rainbow in some way into the 30 day challenge!”

rainbows deserve two shots

so the rainbow is our at a distance choice for today.

i know i said this before at some point on the blog because i remember gina leaving a comment (not sure why that memory has stuck so prominently in my mind) but whenever i see a rainbow, i think of our childhood bible story book entitled “God keeps his promise:”


[this is the book – wow!!! i google-found this image as i think the brother has our actual old copy].

it never fails: if i see a rainbow, i get a warm-fuzzy feeling, and am reminded that God loves me and is watching over me.

what’s a sight in nature that fills you with awe? i also find waterfalls spine-tingling for both their visual and aural impact.


transported back in time

sunday night, sharon and i went out to the movies!

based on the hit broadway musical!

when i read a promotional piece in the newspaper a couple of weeks ago about rock of ages, i immediately was super-keen to check it out. an 80s-themed musical + mr tom cruise?? you won’t have to twist my arm too hard to get me into the theatre! plus, i had a cineplex gift card to use – all the better!

sharon and i wanted to get together some time in june, and i thought she’d be the perfect rock of ages viewing-partner since she’d be way familiar with the era, too. and we were certain beyond a doubt pretty sure this film would not be of general interest to my uncle paul!

no evening out is complete without a self-portrait!

gosh, was this ever a fun movie. rock of ages is campy, cheesy and had us grinning from ear-to-ear and laughing out loud. if you want a super-fun evening out to celebrate the beginning of summer, go see this film. it does not take itself seriously, and if you go in with the attitude that you’ll be lovin’ every minute of it (haha, i had to work in that reference somehow – that song is not in the film but very well could be!) you’ll really enjoy yourself. typical of a musical, the plotline is not complex (hairspray was much the same) and the two *kids* who play the main characters are wholesome, naive and super cute. i wanted to be dancing and singing, too!

highlights to note (without spoiling anything for you):

  • the 80s fashions, hair and make-up – yup, been there, done that
  • great acting: alec baldwin, russell brand and tom cruise are fabulous! – my tommy does an awesome job as stacee jaxx – my guy can sing, seriously! special mention goes to paul giamatti and catherine zeta-jones
  • THE MUSIC!! man, i had forgotten what good tunes we rocked out to back in 1987. for example, i loved the mash-up of juke box hero with joan jett’s i love rock n roll, and i was reminded of how pour some sugar on me is such a solid anthem!
  • hey man [you’ll get it when you see the movie!]

anyway, the movie brought back happy memories of my teen-age era. i have a feeling i may finally swap some songs on my ipod – it could be time to crank up the guns n roses for a while!

rating: *** stars – make that three solid gold stars!


30 day photography challenge

day #26: close-up

a week ago tonight, our local saucony rep visited the store so that members of our half and full marathon clinics could test-drive a pair of saucony shoes, if they so wished, on their evening run. [sidenote for shoe geeks: the most popular model requested was the kinvara!].

the bags of shoes that melissa toted in caught my eye, so i surreptitiously (i hope!) snuck into our back room and grabbed my camera (a permanent fixture in my knapsack) so i could snap a picture:

all saucony, of course!

i liked the jumble of colours and mishmash of angles. please note that i did not stage this photo at all! there was no rearranging of shoes into a certain direction or swapping colours – this is exactly how the shoes were heaped in the huge equipment sack. (remember, i was trying to be quick with my photo!). this was a fun photo to take for our official collection because it came together so fast and unexpectedly. i love when you get satisfying results without even trying!

i ask this q so often, it could become a weekly fixture on the blog…oh well. it’s just very fun to talk movies!

what is the last film you saw, give it a rating out of **** (four stars), and do you recommend it? i still want to see what to expect when you’re expecting because i think it’ll be light n fluffy – perfect for summer viewing!

just doing my part

guess what i did: i ordered yet another cereal box tshirt.

i was perusing the shelves of valumart, looking for an on-sale box of my favourite type of carbs, when the honey nut cheerios box caught my eye:


now, i’d rate honey nut cheerios as a solid B-level cereal – they’re not terrible, but i wouldn’t go out of my way to seek them out. however, offer me a free tshirt?? sold! [and, yes, they were even on sale!].

having learned my lesson with the free reebok tshirt offer (which i am still waiting to receive, btw…) i zipped right home and hopped online:

just helping to support our olympic athletes like kayaker adam!

no disrespect meant to adam van koerverden, but i had to access my code!

chop chop right thru the torso…

phew – there were still tshirts available:

an adult small should do it!

at least, i think i’m getting my tshirt…the directions stated that an order confirmation email would be sent to me. i’m still waiting!

i’ve even checked my spam filter! no email!

apparently, the tshirt will arrive in my mailbox by august 31st. i hope it comes sooner – i would like to wear my tshirt on august 12th when i will be glued to the tv (remember, parents, i have booked your tv) watching our men’s marathoners as they compete in the most exciting of the olympic events!! don’t let me down, honey nut cheerios [you know that if there is some sort of mix-up and my tshirt fails to appear that i will never, ever be buying honey nut cheerios again!].


30 day photography challenge

day #25: something pink

the official pink photo:

my keychain

little pink squirrel has been attached to my keychain for almost two years, now. this memento dates back to my fabulously fun and awesomely amazing florida vacation in july of 2010 (how can time pass so quickly?!). in fact, i remember the exact day i got little pink squirrel! [it was a freebie from claire’s boutique if you don’t want to read the post that i linked to, there].

today’s picture says it all: i am fully aware that little pink squirrel has seen better days. the plush is matted and a little grey, the eyes are scratched and dull, and i am sure pinky is infested with germs. so why haven’t i ditched this keychain adornment? because of the girls

both nieces play with aunti’s keychain practically every time i visit.

cutie c always makes pinky bounce up and down:

our accompanying sound effect is “boing-gah-boing-gah!”

little e likes to have pinky wear flipflops:

one foot in aruba, one foot in cuba!

so, for the time being, i’m not switching things up. plus, my keychain is very easy to locate with all those colourful attachments!

what’s on your key-ring? i’ve kept a plastic, elastic-y coil on mine ever since my teaching days – it’s very handy to be able to put my keychain around my wrist when my hands are full!

honey nut cheerios: thumbs up or down? plain cheerios make a good base layer in a mixed bowl of cereals; i really did not like the chocolate cheerios flavour. have yet to try banana-nut!

new balance party!

some people get all hyped up in anticipation of a NASCARtv-watching party or a wine-and-cheese-tasting soirée. moi? invite me to a running-themed get-together, and i am grinning from ear to ear and bouncing on my toes.

this past wednesday, new balance hosted an information event for staff at the store, theOTHERstore, and yetANOTHERstore! i rearranged the aunti wednesday schedule a little so that i could be in attendance.

i had two super-secret wishes, going into the evening.  number one: i was really hoping new balance would bring in this celebrity runner for a special guest appearance – after all, he trains just down the road in guelph:

sadly, reid was a no-show

hmmm, you’d think the guy was busy prepariing for the olympics or something…i really would like an updated photo, though!

dream #2: to go home with a pair of new balance shoes (rumour had it there would be a  free draw happening…).

in order to better my chances of having goal #2 actually occur, i sucked up big time got into the spirit of the evening:

i dug this ancient tshirt out of the depths of my closet: i know i kept it because it is ORANGE!

we had a chance to view some of the NB shoes before our evening officially started:

me and my bosses, haha! manager paul and manager nicole! and bright shoes!

our host for the evening was dave from new balance:


dave was awesome – his presentation to us was informative yet fun at the same time. dave gave a power point presentation that included some videos and also allowed for some interaction from us.

we learned some nb history, product info, and got the inside scoop on what is coming up!…

we talked quite a bit about minimalist footwear since that is the huge trend, right now (we just got the new balance minimus [zero drop heel], road version, into our local stores). i will share with you what dave told us about good running form in minimalist footwear – you want to focus on these four key points:

  • posture (i need to work on shoulders back!)
  • midfoot strike (as opposed to slamming your heel)
  • cadence (3 steps per second)
  • lean (slightly forward! stand tall!)

by improving your form in each of these categories, you will help prevent injury and enjoy a more positive running experience.

i must say i feel a lot more confident in my knowledge about the different models of new balance shoes and the numbering system used to classify them. dave gave us a great line in reference to the new balance shoes that could be called an everyday training shoe – they’re the “dude, i just wanna run!” type shoes!

next, it was time for the draws (shoes and clothing)!

who will it be, who will it be??

not me, that’s who! luck was not on my side, this evening [maybe that was karma biting me back for this post where i gave my impression of the new balance 890V2 – cringe!]. i’m super happy for nicole, though – she won an item of clothing of her choice!

no party is complete without:

a party favour!

party treats!

many, many thanks to new balance and the store for organizing this event! i had a wonderful time!

and – you were expecting this, i know – i now have my sights set on adding the minimus – and/or the 1400? – to my footwear collection….

the 1400 (mens version) – good for racing!


30 day photography challenge:

day #24: animal

our official picture:

just how i like my four legged-creatures: safely behind a protective barrier!

i took a tour through the waterloo park animal area for today’s photos. meet one of the llamas:

liking the chain-link border effect for today’s pics!

here is sandy’s companion:

the runner-up photo of the day…would have been the #1 shot, but he wouldn’t turn around!

if we had a sign category for this photography challenge project, here is what would receive my vote:

you don’t have to tell me twice!

that sign reminds me of the time in moab, utah when we saw the admonition, “parents control your children” sign and laughed about that for years!

i like visiting the waterloo park zoo very much…now if they could just build an expansive sanctuary for all the roaming geese – there is poop everywhere!

coming up tomorrow: we are back to a colour photography assignment!…

the look of love

30 day photography challenge

day #22: hands

after 48 years of marriage (as of june 27th, next week), mom and dad still hold hands. that warms my heart.

hello, summer!

today is the first FULL day of summer 2012! yippee!

the only sad thing is that the days are already going to start getting shorter!

what are you most looking forward to between now and the first day of fall (ick)? me=just the summer weather. life in general is just more fun when it’s hot, sunny and light late!


i am in the mood to talk about books today. every tuesday, zo participates in top ten tuesday, hosted by the blog site the broke and the bookish. i’ve joined in once before, too (again, on the wrong day). i always look forward to seeing zo’s take on the weekly topic. this past tuesday, the theme was “top ten books on my summer TBR list” – oooh, yes! that is a fun challenge! i want to play, too! and top ten THURSDAY still rolls nicely off the tongue. i’m going to go for it.

top ten books on my summer TBR list

1. 50 shades of grey – e.l. james (will start asap when i get the book from a friend or my name comes up on the library wait list!)

2. where we belong – emily giffin (the latest from this author – i’ve already read three eg’s this year!)

3. in one person – john irving (one of my favourite authors, this is his 2012 release)

4. a sophie kinsella that is NOT part of the shopaholic series (will follow up on gina’s suggestion)

5. shoe addicts anonymous – beth harbison (idea borrowed from zo)

6. then came you – jennifer weiner (one of my fave reading-on-the-beach type authors)

7. the newlyweds – nell freudenberger (seen in a globe and mail – or was it the toronto star? – book review section)

8. a joyce carol oates novel (any one i have not read; i am in the mood for her style)

9. ready player one – ernest cline (**11th hour substitution [which bumped bossypants by tina fey] – sil ana and i had a brief yet very enjoyable chat about the 80s yesterday – she mentioned that ready player one was recommended to her as a fun read with a lot of cool 80s references in it. since i ♥ 80s-everything this summer…well, and the 70s…i am IN for checking out ready player one!)

10. tom cruise: an unauthorized biography – andrew morton (i started this one a few sundays ago. to my horror, it is very boring so far. how can you make tom cruise boring?? i am only into his childhood era, so am really hoping the interest level picks up as we move along…)

[i can practically guarantee i will not get ten books read between now and labour day (my definition of the end of summer) – two is a realistic goal!].

what are, let’s say, the top TWO books you would like to read this summer? a book a month has proven to be my pace thus far in 2012!


30 day photo challenge:

day #21: faceless self-portrait

i was bored with the thought of standing in front of my full-length mirror, again, and simply chopping off my head (or putting a paper bag over my head). here’s the variation i came up with instead:


sitting cross-legged like this is a meditative yoga pose, but i also like it as a stretch…and boy, did i feel the tightness in my hips as i snapped this picture! in terms of composition, i was aiming to capture unique angles – usually we see legs in their straight up and down alignment. and!…please note there are no compression socks in this leggy-photo, for once!

wishing you a great first-day-of-summer 2012!!