Category Archives: LIFESTYLE

Be vulnerable… Exist in photos!

While on our final stretch of vacation, we had family portraits taken by Nikita, one of my son’s friends from the Vancouver Film School who generously agreed to take time away from his family, to photograph us. Wow, was it difficult to be in front of the camera for a change, for so many reasons! One of them being my weight gain this past year! Last year my doctor put me on anti-depressants because I was having some difficulty navigating through some pretty tough family stuff over the past couple of years. I won’t go into those details but needless to say, anti-depressants aren’t known to make you lose weight, but to gain it, rapidly. Though I am no longer taking them, I have yet to shed the weight which makes me that much more uncomfortable in front of a camera. Oh, Ashley Graham, how I wish to be like you! (If you don’t know who that is, Google her 🙂 )
However, not knowing when the 4 of us would be together again, I had to just suck it up and go for it. I had to put my money where my mouth is and do what I tell clients to do. EXIST IN PHOTOS! It doesn’t matter what I look like at the moment, whether overweight or looking tired, or getting older…, these photos will be cherished by those who love me. I will never be perfect, it’s just not possible. So what if I’m a little chunkier than I’d like to be right now; this is my family and we love each other unconditionally. They won’t care in 10 years that their mom carried extra pounds, they will just remember being together on that beach in Kitsilano, British Columbia during sunset.  And they certainly won’t care what I looked like in a photo once I’ve gone to Heaven.  They will just be grateful that they have a photo of their mom to show their families.  And that is priceless.
So to my potential clients: I know how awkward you feel! It’s not easy being vulnerable and looking natural in front of a camera when everything about it screams unnatural. I get it, trust me! But because I know EXACTLY how you feel , it is my mission to make you relax. I promise you will have fun and possibly even forget that the camera is there.  
P.S. Although this is not Nik’s usual style of photography, he indulged me in my vision for my family shoot. I love what he captured for us! Check him out on Instagram, he’s quite talented!
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  • Bonnie Pate

    Beautiful pic of a beautiful family. Wendy you look fabulous !ReplyCancel

Ordinary Heroes

1. with no special or distinctive features; normal.


1.  a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.


You don’t have to wear a cape to be a hero.  A hero can look like you and me…

There has been a lot of news coverage of the flooding in Quebec, including my city, Ile Bizard and Ile Mercier the tiny island that is connected to where I live, which is completely submerged under water. I have also heard complaints of traffic and the inconvenience of so many detours but there hasn’t been much said of the countless volunteers who have devoted time and energy to help those in need. Today I set out to document and celebrate these ordinary heroes of our West Island communities. Without them, the efforts to save the many homes that have been touched or threatened by the flood, would not be possible.  So please join me in applauding these selfless souls who have given up their Saturday to help where they can.

This post is about them.  The ordinary heroes. The men, women and children who wanted to do whatever was needed to help.  It didn’t matter what they did, just that they were doing something.  There are good people out there.  And today I saw many of them.

First stop, On Rock (a local food bank that feeds over 200 under-privileged families every week) where I found Syl, Kathryn, Sylvie and Nina, preparing chilli for 200 volunteers over on Ile Bizard.

Then onto Ile Bizard…Below is the scene at the intersection of Jacques Bizard and Pierrefonds Boulevard


Arriving at the Public Works, I was blown away by the hub of activity by happy volunteers, too many to count!  Volunteers came from many other communities around the West Island, including Beaconsfield and Pointe-Claire, as well as Montreal, Toronto and even Maine!  I’m sure there were other communities represented but I didn’t get to speak with everyone there.  Local businesses dropped off food, citizens brought muffins and doughnuts and granola bars… Kudos to IGA Ile Bizard for the boxes of fruit, St-Hubert on St. Johns for the chicken meals, to McDonald’s for the donation of coffee, burgers and muffins, the person who dropped off 20 pizzas, and the other ordinary heroes who brought over snacks for the hungry volunteers.  And of course On Rock for their delicious chilli.  I was overwhelmed by the outpour of love over the city I have lived in for 40 years.

Ile Bizard had a couple of VIP’s with a huge entourage come in for a photo op, causing traffic congestion that made it difficult for trucks to deliver much needed sandbags to citizens in the major flood zones, interrupting the volunteers who were actually there to work, so that they could pose for cameras with a shovel in their hand as if they were there working. I’m pretty sure the volunteers were not very impressed by the antics and were most likely offended by the pretence that was displayed. If they sincerely wanted to help, they would have showed up in jeans and a t-shirt ready to get dirty with the rest of the volunteers.  They certainly would have stayed longer than the 10 minutes it took to be captured on camera and shake a few hands. Maybe next time there is a crisis somewhere, they will find it in their hearts to participate beyond the cameras?  Lets just hope that their visit will at least shed some light on the severity of the situation and will initiate some extra help in fighting the flood and helping the families who have lost so much, rebuild.

While many volunteers helped with prepping the sandbags, others were delivering them by boat.  Someone built a small dock (which would have been on a street a few weeks ago) so that the sandbags could be loaded into the boats where the volunteers would pick them up for delivery to Ile Mercier. Sylvie, one of the On Rock volunteers brought a case of granola bars for these volunteers to snack on.

As someone who has lived on Ile Bizard for 40 years, I want to say thank you.  Thank you to every single person who took time away from their families, who gave up their Saturday, who sweat for hours bent over with a shovel in their hand, to Westview Bible Church‘s volunteers, to the men and women from Plymouth Brethren church who came in equipped as a RRT (Rapid Response Team) to organize much of the day, to CrossFit Ile Bizard and the Ile Bizard Hockey League members who organized volunteer teams to help, to On Rock for providing a huge amount of food to the volunteers, to the businesses who reached out to provide food and snacks, to the people who lent their boats for transport, to the police officers and firefighters, to the tractor, truck and forklift drivers, to EVERYONE who took part in helping this community, my community since I was 6 years old.  You are the ordinary heroes who make this world a better place!



The fight is not over so if you can spare some time, head over to the public works yard beside the Centre Socio Culturel located at 490, montée de l’Église, L’Île-Bizard, H9C 1G9.  Volunteers are needed day and night!

Pierrefonds/Roxboro is also in need of relief!  For information click HERE or HERE

People are posting updates of information and needs on Facebook.  Here are a few links:

Ile Bizard Innondation-Flood Information

Ile Bizard Mamas

Arrondissement de l’Ile Bizard et Ste. Genevieve

West Island Blog



You can click HERE for a “mise a jour” from the city of Ile Bizard.

Gazette click HERE

For street closures click HERE

Also, On Rock is always looking for volunteers to help out weekly at their facility located at 9554 Gouin West, Pierrefonds, QC H8Y 1R3 (entrance is in back of the strip mall).  They especially need volunteers on Mondays and Tuesday to help pack food boxes and deliver them to the families but also could use your help on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to help out at their community diner.  For more information on how to help or donate please click HERE.


If you helped out or know someone who did, please mention it in the comments.  I would love to thank you personally for your selfless act of kindness.

Feel free to share this with someone who was part of the effort.





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Ellie Turns 4!

There is nothing that is more exciting to a child than a birthday!  When you’re old enough to anticipate that special day, you wake up knowing that today is the day and it can’t come quickly enough.  The cake, the presents, the friends and family, it’s all so much fun!  And it’s all about you!

For parents it’s many hours of preparation, invitations to send out, food to prepare, a cake to bake or order, presents to purchase, clothes to set out and the list goes on.  It’s less exciting and more exhausting.  But seeing your child so happy makes it all worth it.  We push aside the exhaustion and play host/hostess to the guests and make sure the party is a success.

The kids have fun, get to eat junk food, play games and stuff their face with delicious cake.  What more can a child ask for?

This mom was grateful to have a photographer to capture her daughter’s special moment.  She confessed that they were so preoccupied with putting on the party that they forgot to take photos of their little girl when she turned 2 and again when she turned 3.  This year, they were able to host and not worry about missing the photo ops.  They will have visual memories of the day all while being able to focus on the birthday girl and guests. I have hosted parties and have been so busy catering to my guests that I have little time to chat with them let alone photograph the event.  By the end of the night, I have no idea how my party went.  It would be nice to have had someone take some candid shots of the day/evening to have that visual reminder.



Have you ever thought of hiring a photographer to take lifestyle photos of special days?  I’m not talking about weddings, Christenings, graduations…, photographers are usually hired to chronicle those big events.  What I’m asking is, have you thought about hiring a photographer to photograph your child’s birthday, first sleepover, or even just a Saturday as a family?  Lifestyle photos are candid shots of everyday moments.  Rather than posed portraits, they are photos of you and your children playing, colouring, sharing a snack together, jumping on beds, having pillow fights.  They are photos of a typical day in your life, right now, how it is.  Lifestyle photos capture the everyday, exactly as it happens.  This is a great way to capture your little ones at any given stage.  It’s fun, relaxed and natural.

If you’d like to hear more about a lifestyle session, please click on “book a session” and send me an email, I would love to chat with you about the details.

…be your own kind of beautiful…

xoxo  Wendy


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