Toronto Trippin’ with Miss El

When we left our downtown condo I was about 4 months pregnant with Miss S and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  Living in the city has it’s perks (everything was walking distance) but I was so over the congestion and car pollution I was really looking forward to more green-space and less concrete jungle.

For me, taking a solo-mama-babe-in-the-stroller visit to the city is a real accomplishment.  It’s like a #RookieMom rite of passage!  I mean with Miss S I did it when she was closer to one year old.  But with our Ellie Bell it happened at 3 months.

We ended up driving down (wasn’t too keen on nursing on the Go Transit during the commuter rush) and seeing my co-workers, introducing Miss El to my mentor and then having lunch with the Mister after visiting his office.  Later in the afternoon, I wandered around Eaton Centre, broke my no-buy-challenge after 27 days (although disappointing it did make an impact on my spending habits – more on that in another post).

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Love the vines growing on buildings near Forest Hill

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In the super glam elevator at H&M – which was obviously made for selfies!

Although do-able with a double stroller, the Eaton Centre is not as stroller friendly as I thought.  I was walking from either ends of the mall to get to the elevators,which were always heavily in use (had to miss two rides because they were crowded with people).  I got over 13,000 steps throughout the entire day in my comfy #AthletiLeasure sneaks.

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Made my option a little more vegan friendly by saying no meat please and getting tofu instead.

For our lunch date, we went to Spring Rolls.  I had the tofu chowmein noodles and Hubz had the chicken pad thai.  We chit chatted and made goggly eyes at each other – it’s been a long time.  I almost always take a part of my dish home but it was so good I ended up finishing it (even when Miss El needed to be held).

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Overall it was nice trip into the city (despite the rain which I was fully prepared for).  Planning another trip later this year.

How to: Edit photos

I take a lot of photos and I don’t really have studio lighting or even a DIY reflector (which is probably something I should have done already).  So because I take a ton of pictures I do spend quite of a bit of time post processing them i.e. editing them in some photography software.  I wasn’t always interested in editing my photos but I really started getting into it 2013 when my photography became more complex and I started to really  try to capture certain types of shots.

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The most common photo I have to edit are the ones I take anytime between 5:30pm-7:30pm.  When we get home from work/preschool – I try and snap some pictures of either our food or of us or just Miss S.  But almost always the lighting in the house is crap and all of our chandiliers/lamp shades are using soft white bulbs which end up making our pictures have a yellow tinge (yuck!)

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Here is a run down of what I do to correct these types of photos.  Some of my favourite photo editing apps are here, here and here.  Regardless of the app – these are characteristics I work with first (ranges seem extreme because it depends on the photo and the app being used.)

  1. Reduce the temperature by 10-50%
  2. Increase the exposure 10-50%
  3. Increase the brightness a 2-10%
  4. Increase the saturation a 2-10%
  5. Increase the sharpness at least 10% (usually more)

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And there you have it! You can always save these setting as a filter and apply the same filter to all photos taken at that same time.  Below is a side by side of the updated photo and the original.

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Some thoughts and CNE photo edits

We are heading away with family for the weekend to Niagara Falls.  I am totally craving these, but will totally settle for an option that won’t break the bank.  I am sooo glad that I bought this, because it’s literally saving my life LOL.  Anyways I’ll leave you with these edits from our recent trip to the CNE.  Enjoy!

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CNE 2016 #letsgototheex

Last weekend, we made our annual trip to the CNE.  This was our 3rd trip since Miss S was born, but only her second time being there.  This time she definitely enjoyed a lot more.  She was really into the kiddie rides, shows (we saw Splash and Boots), the food (hello 1 dollar spaghetti with meat sauce and pop corn) and even tried her luck on a carni-game.  I love the Ex and I am so glad I got to re-experience the air show (the last time I saw it was before I got married – 7 years ago!).  The mister won us a poop emoji stuffie (among other cute stuff that Miss S snatched up).

Even though the CNE signals the end of summer it is a lot of fun and gives me last bit of excitement before I pull out my uggs and order my PSL.  …Until next year.

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I don’t like reading sad news

There is so much chaos in the world.  Especially with our neighbours to the south.  I know that a lot of people who have some influence in our world (whether its political, media, corporate etc) feel the need to use their platform to take a stand.  I think when it comes to social media it’s a slippery slope.  I love checking my feed to find inspiration and uplifting stories.  But when those people I follow talk about something outside of their niche (or brand) I feel disconnected from them.  I know what’s going (TV and newspapers) and when it’s particularly sad I just like to turn it off.  Not because I am turning a blind eye but because I want to stay positive for myself and family.

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Do you like seeing your favourite social media influencers taking a stand on political or social economic views?  Does it make you feel alienated or can you relate to them more?

Being Present vs Memory Keeping

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I more often than not feel sooo guilty for not having every moment of my little girls life documented.  I never took those cute monthly pictures with a sticker on her belly indicating which month of age she was.  I know I have pictures of her first smile, her crazy army crawl, then her “normal” crawl and her first steps — but they are lost in a sea of iPhone/iPad photos, screenshots and snippets of low quality video #NeedToOrganizeThat.

…Besides I am ALWAYS running out of space on my 16gig phone #SmartPhoneFail and I hate it when she sees us on our phones #WillSheRemember?

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And so now I try to take photos on my “big camera” so that at least I’ll save them in an organized manner in the hopes that I’ll create cute photo books or at least simple photo albums.  #HaventDoneThatEither.

Other than that, I constantly have an inner dialogue with myself “Self should I or shouldn’t I share photos of the kiddo online/on my blog/on my Instagram”  I can just hear her saying #MomWhyAreYouSoEmbarassing

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I’ve ended up settling on a few things:

  • I will JUST BE with my daughter when we are together
  • When I take pictures of her (with my iPhone), I will IMMEDIATELY email them to her email account – and let her know what I am doing (in hopes she’ll have a sweet pile of photos to view when she’s older)
  • I will invest in a video recorder and make the Hubz the official family videographer
  • I will continue to use my big camera (lol) and lenses to take lovely photos of my family :)

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Do you feel you take too many photos of your kids?  How do you find balance between being present with them and recording precious memories?