Category Archives: she said

shift happens | she said

This is a very exciting time for us!  Right now I feel like every egg that I have had in my basket is up in the air and I am just waiting to see where they all land.  Our home is in a major state of shift, our business is in a major point of shift and me, well, I’m shifting all over the place.  I feel like, with all this potential and all these unknowns, that I have been given a pop quiz in regards to my ability to surrender and stay in a state of surrender.

At this point, I think I am doing pretty good, but I guess we shall have to see how things play out.  Until next week…

Thanks and have a beautiful day!

true surrender | she said

So, about 12 years ago, I went to a friend who was a karmic astrologer and I we did a little trade. I created his logo and he did gave me a couple of readings. While he was doing my reading he told me a lot of very interesting things but the biggest thing that stuck with me through all these years was that he said, “you’re life is meant to be easy. you are the one who is making it hard. all you have to do is surrender and everything will be easier for you.” Between his reading and a scarily accurate psychic I saw only a few months before who told me that, “after having children, you will pursue your passion, you will travel, life will be easy and money will never be an issue.” Well, that left me feeling very optimistic and with 2 big questions.

What is my passion?
How the heck do I surrender?

So, after the first 10 years of trying to figure out what my passion was and declaring to the world, with a white flag in my hand that I surrender, nothing happened. No closer to knowing what I was passionate about and, unfortunately, giving up and surrender are not the same thing, I started to think that somewhere along the path I altered my destiny and life would never be easy or completely fulfilling. Then, everything changed one day when I found my passion. Glamour photography. (insert record scratch sound here. EEEERRRRRKKKK) Wait?!? What!?! Glamour photography. Isn’t that a super cheesy trend of the 90’s with big hair, boas and satin gloves? Not the way we do it! I’m sure I will go on about this in great length over time but it boils down to; Tobin took a Glamour photo of me and it changed EVERYTHING! At first I allowed myself to see myself the way others must. I am not a hideous monster and I was slowly believing I was actually beautiful. This gave me a boost in confidence, my posture improved, I could make eye contact again, I was okay with being noticed. My light began to shine brighter and now I wanted all my friends (especially my mommy friends who had also lost themselves) to have this experience. I was and still remain changed!

So, it had looked like I had found my passion (and it was the last thing I would have ever expected it to be!), now, onto surrender. HOLY CRAP! The true act of surrendering is the hardest thing I have ever done and I’m sure I’m only at level 1 Surrender and there are infinite levels:) .  The true act of surrendering for me was like slowly tearing away painful layer after layer of objections, other peoples beliefs that I made my own, feelings of worthlessness, default reactions, to get to actually making the decision and choice to be happy, to forgive the list of those who have “wronged” me, to actually step back and see, again, from the outside, not just me but my life and how amazingly blessed I am and how grateful I am. This all culminated last week when I wrote my SHE SAID blog and in that moment of true surrender things… scary (in a good way) things started to come together.

This past week has been a whirlwind of decisions, like big life altering decisions, and I am full to the rim with joy, gratitude and faith that those 2 people over 12 years ago, who planted a seed of hope and worth in my mind and heart, were right and with passion being aligned with true surrender I will be fulfilled.  I am serving my purpose.

Thanks for listening!  Have a beautiful day!

a small shift | she said

Today I am grateful.

Today I take control.


Today I allow myself to see things from the outside and be amazed.


Today I choose love over fear.


Today I let go of my need to be right, perfect and prompt and I let go my expectation for
others to do the same.


Today I measure my success not by “likes” or my bank account but by the lives I have also
given a small shift to.


Today I measure my success by the smiles on my children’s faces, by the joy in my heart
and the love in my home.


looking from the outside in | she said

Sometimes I get so focused and fixated on what is ahead and how to keep our little business going I forget to stop and celebrate the fact that, right now, I have the gift of living my dream.  Lately, I have had to remind myself that not everybody (or heck, actually that not many people at all) get to live their dream.  I do and, yes, there is a need to keep a couple steps ahead with a plan to keep the cog of our business turning but Tobin and I should stop and celebrate every success, no matter how small it may feel. Wow, we made rent!  Wow, our kids didn’t have any time outs today! Wow, at the end of the day, I am excited to have quiet time with Tobin…still, after 17 years!  Wow, I like myself!  Wow, I made a new friend… Wow! I could keep going on this list and it feels good!!!

It was today, when I met a friend for coffee that I haven’t seen in a long time (like 4 years we figured) and was talking about what we have done in the past year.  How we had great success right out of the gate, how we stumbled and how we rebuilt our business with a strong foundation instead of a house of cards.  Along side of that we also had all the ups and downs, challenges and victories of raising 2 young children that I took a moment and actually heard what I was saying.  Ultimately, I have everything I have ever wished for and yes, it is crazy, busy and stressful but this is my dream.   I am present in my children’s life, I get to work with my partner in life and he is present in our children’s life, my job (no my passion) not only fuels my soul, it has a positive impact on those who acquire our services and that has a trickle effect into the people in their lives.

I may forget from time to time but I am blessed.  I am grateful.  I am human. I am trying to be present.  I am breathing. I am living my dream and, you know what, it’s time to dream bigger!

I love lists! | she said

I love lists!  I have dedicated notebooks just for all my lists.  Plus the added bonus is that, since I am terrible at keeping a journal, this is like my own version of a journal.  My to-do list from years past is a glimpse into my life at that time.  Most my lists are meal planning, grocery shopping, packing lists for trips and my “take over the world” lists for our business.  This one though, this one I think I should print up a large version of and put it up on the wall to remind myself a lot.


to do list to live by


Thanks and have a beautiful day!

summer days | vancouver modern portrait studio owner, makeup artist and mama

I used to LOVE summer!  The change of routine, the sunshine, the relaxation of having no set schedule.  “Used to?”, you ask.  Well, I still do love summer.  I do love that it doesn’t take 20 minutes to find jackets, hats and boots to get out the door.  I love the long days and the sunshine BUT as for the change in routine and having no set schedule.  That has been rough this year.

This is our first year experiencing having a child who is usually at school 4 days a week at preschool at home during the summer and everyone is having a hard time adjusting.  We did so well during the school year and even if we weren’t actually more productive it felt like we were because we weren’t so divided.  Isla had her “queen of the castle” time while Oliver was away at school and Isla is fiercely independent so she would play on the bed next to us as we worked or in her room or even in Oliver’s room and we would get SO much done.  Now that Oliver’s home that has all changed.  My intention was to set a new daily routine for the kids that includes learning time, outside time and all the other great things I would love to include in a day but the honest truth is, after having sick kids in the house for 2 weeks, launching the next step of our business, maintaining relationships with clients as well as our own, I am just surviving each moment as it comes.

But this all comes at me as so bittersweet.  I almost can’t wait for fall, for the return of routine but that being said, my little boy, our first born, is heading off to kindergarten in the fall and we all start our journey into the next stage of our family life and so because of that I want the summer to go on forever.

I am constantly reminding myself to cherish this time, be grateful because I do get to be an active part of their everyday and to just simply breath.  My children are not my excuse for not getting the things done that I want to do.  They are my purpose of why I do everything that I do.

Breath. Focus and above all have fun!

when life gives you a Pinterest fail make hashbrowns | a vancouver moms adventure of suddenly cooking mostly gluten and dairy free

make the best of what you've got

I am a pretty good cook.  I was able to hide this from Tobin for about 15 years.  I would whip up a full Turkey dinner or handmade perogies for Christmas but in general, I didn’t cook up anything special or consistantly.  Kind of my way of making sure I wasn’t saddled with the constant responsibility of cooking.  Tobin and I share the responsibility (just like we do with, well, everything).
All that changed about 3 months ago.  Oliver all of a sudden started having erratic behavior and was lashing out.  At first we thought it was a phase (and in part it was, he did just turn five and had a major growth spurt) but as I observed him more it seemed to flair up more drastically when he ate certain food.

DING DING!  When I was in Paris, one of the amazing women there talked about how her daughter had a major gluten sensitivity and how her daughter went from completely unmanageable to mild tempered by eliminating the certain foods.  At first I thought that this behavior was something Oliver would get over, then as I watched more I realized his eyes ALWAYS had dark circles under them and he had a rash down his back for most of his life. HMMMM.

BUT I DON’T WANT TO CHANGE ANOTHER THING IN OUR LIFE RIGHT NOW!!!!!  (insert stomping feet and adult temper tantrum here)

But I also knew I had to, for him and for everyone.  We have discovered that Oliver is lactose intolerant and gluten sensitive, as well as there seems to be some additive in food when we eat out that gives him CRAZY BRAIN.  When he is eating the foods that his body can process everyone wins.  So now our family is making a HUGE switch to lactose free (and I LOVED my lattes and cheesy eggs), low gluten and minimal processed foods.  Because of this, I had to out myself to Tobin that I can cook… well, I can follow a recipe and sometimes come up with a few things on my own.  In the two months I have made glutten free, dairy free, rice flour banana pancakes; dairy free, gluten free regular pancakes; gluten free brownies made with black beans instead of flour; gluten free blondies made with chickpeas instead of flour; amazing rich chocolate made with coconut oil, honey and cocoa powder and to my surprise, no major failures… until Saturday night.

It was a fantastic summer day and we were ending it with organic turkey dogs on fresh made buns (full on flour but no preservatives), homemade beans and to top it off, I wanted potato chips.  I thought, I’ve got potatoes, I can bake up some AMAZING home made potato chips.  Oh, and not just regular potato chips but a mix of regular potato and yams.  I was SO pleased with myself.  I followed the recipe and right before throwing them in the oven I knew I had failed.  Majorly failed.  I put half of it in the oven in hopes I had a magic oven that would turn these lumps of potato into the beautiful crispy chips like on the website ( I found it from but also knowing better, I called Tobin and had him pick up some “real” potato chips from the store.  Good thing I did, because I do not have a magic oven.  My potato chips were somehow ½ cooked and burnt at the same time.  I put the rest of the uncooked potatoes into the fridge with grand plans for hashbrowns which were served up this morning for breakfast.

I wish I had photos documenting the fail because I totally would have posted it on but as I was frying up my potato mush this morning all I could think was…

When life gives you a Pinterest fail, make hashbrowns!

Thanks and have a beautiful day!


My mind has been spinning all week.  I have had SO many thoughts on what to share for my first “SHE SAID” post but now, as I sit down to write it, I am blank.  No, seriously, I have written and deleted 3 posts so far because they are basically just nonsensical ramblings, but I will try one more time and if this doesn’t work, well then the post ends here.

Okay, so it won’t end there… the blog must go on 🙂 (I think this is attempt #8)

WOW!  This is SO much harder than I expected!  I am, by nature, a recluse.  If given the choice of staying at home all day (or heck, all week) in my jammies or going out on adventures, I would choose being home in my jammies.  So to open myself up and put it out for all to read is a HUGE personal challenge.  Tobin has been warming me up to the challenge ever since Facebook was invented.  He would post EVERYTHING until I begged him to at least censor what he said about me.  Tobin is much more comfortable “being public”.  He is very comfortable and even invites being noticed.  I, on the other hand, would prefer to go on unnoticed… Well, I did like to go unnoticed until about a year ago.  Now I am in the middle of my mid-mid-life crisis  (I say mid-mid because I hope to live well past 70).

I am constantly juggling back and forth between my default state (please, don’t notice me.  I don’t want to exist) to the me I want to be.  The me that LOVES and accepts myself exactly the way I am.  The me that doesn’t mind being noticed and isn’t terrified of being judged (good or bad).  The me that doesn’t scold myself at the end of the day for things said or not said.

Self acceptance, let alone self love, is a long and hard journey but I will not sit this one out.  I will not curl up on the couch and stay in my jammies.  And since I still am not to the point where I feel I am worth the time and effort it will take to get there, I do think my children are.  I will teach them that loving, not just accepting or tolerating, yourself is the most important thing.  I want to teach them this with my actions, not my words, so for them, I work on myself.

I was told by a Karmic Astrologer, over 10 years ago, that all I had to do was surrender and my life would be easy and for the past 10 years this control freak has been stating to the universe, “I surrender!”.  Thinking that surrendering would be a quick and easy process.  Boy, was I wrong!  Giving up.  That is a quick and easy process but surrender, true surrender, is a painstaking, time consuming and CONSTANT practice.  One that I succeed at on a daily basis as much as I fail, but one that I will continue doing until I am doing it for the best reason.  I am doing it for myself.

our content commitment | vancouver modern glamour portrait studio


overcome your fear and work hard for your deams

these words sat on my desktop over the past year to keep me focused!

Hi and thanks for stopping by!

Well, after a year of irresponsible blogging (as in not knowing what the heck we were doing and thinking no one was going to listen anyway, silly us ;)) we are reformed and ready to make the change.  If you decide to join us on this journey we promise to be consistent, educational, informative, opinionated, authentic and maybe even entertaining.  This is where you will get to know us and we would LOVE the chance to get to know you too so feel free to comment and start a conversation.

Yes, we are a photography studio but our blog won’t be just photo talk.  My (Sarah’s) hope is that we become a diverse resource.  As we go through this journey of life we are not JUST a photography studio, we are a married couple (for over 16 years), we are parents of young children, we are embarking on whole food cooking, we are running a business AND a household and we are doing all of this together.

To help us be consistent in our blogging (and to let you know what you can look forward to) here is our content commitment to you… though we do allow (and hope you do too) for some small variances should something super awesome happen that we want to share.

Mondays- HELLO BEAUTIFUL!– this is where I (Sarah) will share my primping and pampering tips and tricks as well as my favourite finds.  I will blog and even vlog some step by step demos.  For this one I will reach deep into my decade of esthetic expertise.

Tuesdays- HE SAID– this is where Tobin gets to share what’s on his mind.  The rants, raves and other inner workings of my modern man not put through the Sarah filter… okay, well, maybe a little filtered but, hey, I’m a totally control freak. 🙂  Tobin will share his thoughts on everything from smoothies to movies to tips on surviving crazy wife syndrome and everything in between.

Wednesdays- SHE SAID– my turn!  Here I will share what it really is like “behind the curtain”.  I will candidly share what it’s like systemizing the family and the business, balancing the notion of “having it all” with the reality of it, cooking, cleaning, co-parenting and co-working with my soul mate.  But I’m not JUST going to share but I’ll let you know what I’m doing about it.  Recipes, crafts, trials and triumphs will all be shared here.

Thursdays- PHOTOGRAPH RESPONSIBLY– this is for you photographers out there.  Tobin and I will take turns talking about our business and photography in general.  Tobin will talk the technical stuff (I’m not a photographer AT ALL) and I’ll talk business (though Tobin has AMAZING insight in business too so he’ll share as well).  What we are doing, what is working and what isn’t working.  Tobin will vlog tips and tricks from how to take a better selfie to how to pose.  We would also LOVE to know what your questions are for us.

Fridays- THEY SAID– this is where we will feature one of our clients.  We will share their story, either through their own words and photos or a video of their experience.  We can talk about what we do until we are blue in the face but we want you to hear from the people that really know what they are talking about.  The ones who have experienced for themselves!

Some posts will be long (we both can get going sometimes when given a soapbox to stand on) but some will be short and we are excited for this journey to begin.  I hope you’ll join us.

Thank and have a beautiful day!