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Dana Says

Friday’s Favorites

by admin on June 7, 2013

I get asked all the time what camera apps I like for my iPhone.

It’s funny because I haven’t really become one of those photographers who use their iPhone for all of their personal work. I’m a bit shocked actually because I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook and blog posts about picking up their big camera again in favour of their iPhone. For me, my iPhone has always sort of been about taking snapshots of my kids. Yes, I’ve got a few good ones on there, but I always prefer my big camera to my phone. Personal preference.

That changed a wee bit when I upgraded my operating system. It always takes me ages to do this…I fear losing all of my contact info or some weird change to the way I like things. But, I upgraded this time solely to buy the Pic-Tap-Go app.

It is put out by the wonderful people who brought us Totally Rad Actions and presets. I don’t really use those(with the exception of the web sharpening–that action rocks), but I kept seeing images with the hashtag #pictapgo in my Instagram feed so I knew I had to have it. And I freaking LOVE IT. Here are some of my favourite images taken with it:

Before I had the Pic-Tap-Go app, I used the VSCO cam app which I loved, but I was a fickle lover and jumped to Pic-Tap-Go. Well, yesterday, they announced a new upgrade to the VSCO cam app…and, I may be jumping again. It is pretty awesome. So, if you start following me on Instagram(or you already do), I’ll be using this app this weekend….

I know that there is a tendency to think that buying a great big camera will mean for great images of your kids…well, I gotta tell you…I think that the best camera is the one that you always have on you. And, I don’t know too many people who don’t have their iPhones with them at all times. It truly is the best camera you have…so use it.

What are your favourite apps?

~ Dana


Mistakes I’ve Made

by admin on June 6, 2013

No…I didn’t buy this for myself. Now THAT would have been some mistake…

I bought this for Georgia. For our trip to Belize…in my head, I had visions of taking photographs of her underwater wearing this amazing swimsuit. I bought the matching shorts. And, big white sunglasses…I had high hopes. Photography is a funny thing. It gets me to do things I wouldn’t normally do–true story…and sometimes that is a good thing, but this time…well, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a gorgeous bikini for Georgia. All with the hopes of getting amazing pictures.

Then, she swam in it once. ONCE. That was all it took. She is a practical girl at heart. Not to mention that she is very particular about her clothing due to some sensory issues she has(yes, my generation has a NAME for everything our children experience…that is just a fancy way to say that she doesn’t like it when her clothes bug her). I should have known that she wouldn’t actually want to swim in it. It bugged her. It wouldn’t stay put. She looked ridiculously cute…I mean FREAKISHLY AWESOME in it. I was so excited because I knew it was right. Every day, I would ask her to wear it. Every day, she would refuse and put on her boring black and white bathing suit that I bought at Superstore. SUPERSTORE! I got more and more frustrated…frustrated at the missed opportunity of said incredible picture and frustrated at myself for thinking it was a good idea to spend that much money on an 8 year old’s bathing suit.

Truthfully, a part of me knew she would never wear it. That she would think it was cute, but that she would want to be in the much less fussy suit. But, I bought it anyway. It’s funny because before we have children…before we know who’ll they’ll actually be…we all have this amazing picture in our heads of the things that they’ll do. Little girls in tutus excited to go to her first ballet class(don’t even ASK ME ABOUT BALLET or I’ll lose it). Little boys playing street hockey with the other boys on the block(Jack couldn’t even name 3 hockey teams if you asked him). And, then you meet the people who will be your children and you realize how incredibly stupid and naive you were. Your kids are nothing like this storybook version that you dreamed up. In fact, they are way more awesome and interesting….and, that is why having them is so amazing. But, from time to time…even though you know who they are now, you slip back into this fairytale version of who you thought they might be and you buy a silly $60 bikini. For an 8 year old. Who you know will never wear it…

I think her 16 year old self will be dying over this picture…she’ll be like ‘why didn’t you make me wear that? It’s so awesome.’ ~sigh~ Another storybook version I’ve yet to meet…

~ Dana


Julia and Jack

by admin on May 23, 2013

This evening I watched Julie & Julia with the kids. When we decide to watch a movie, we take turns deciding what movie to watch. Tonight, it was Georgia’s turn. Jack spent a great deal of energy trying to convince her to watch something he might enjoy.

First attempt–The Hobbit. We watched the trailer. She looked mildly interested in some parts, but I think we all knew that was a no go. Soooo…Jack decided to play it cool. ‘Ya,’ he said,’That one is probably too scary for you.’

Second attempt–a brief mention of The Lord of The Rings. Georgia rolls her eyes and I say…if you think ‘The Hobbit’ is too scary…Jack relents.

Third attempt–Jurassic Park. We watch the trailer. Jack takes the ‘whatever I don’t really want to see this approach’….which almost works until he details how some kid in his class had told him that a T Rex eats his way through the ceiling of the bathroom before chomping a character sitting on the toilet in half. It is a no go.

I then see that iTunes has a section called ‘Food Movies’. Georgia has always wanted to be a chef, so I think we might find success in that category. Right away she eyes ‘The End of the Line’. A documentary about overfishing. She says she has always wanted to watch that one. A documentary…Georgia loves them…it’s true, but I say to her…

‘There will be real life killing of fish in this movie.’

I sense her hesitation.

‘How about Julie & Julia?’ I ask. Really just hoping to find a movie that we can all tolerate and that will, at this point, finish before 9:00pm.
‘Is it a real story?’
‘Yes’ I say(she LOVES real stories). I explain who Julia Childs is and how she went to cooking school in France(which is a sometime dream of Georgia’s, but one that I have selfishly put in her head so that I will have a daughter who I can visit in France).

So…we set out to watch this cute little movie about food and blogging and life. Georgia is sort of interested, but about half way through she ends up prancing around the playroom in her own make believe world as she normally does. Making things fly through the air. Muttering fantastical phrases about cooking lobsters and beef bourguignon. Jack, on the other hand, is mesmerized.

‘So,’ he says….’this is a movie about an optimist and a pessimist.’

He often talks the whole way through movies which is annoying to us all, but this time it was amazing. Listening to him describe in detail the aspects of the two main characters that made them either ‘optimistic’ or ‘pessimistic’. In the end, he decided that Julia Childs was an ‘optimistic realist’ and that THAT was a wonderful way to be. She never let anything get her too down. She didn’t care if people didn’t think she couldn’t do it…she just did it and had a good time doing it.

‘She was quite inspirational’ he said when the movie finished. ‘And, I love that ‘never apologize, never explain’ quote. I’m going to use that one.’

And, he marched off to bed.

Life is pretty great in these little moments. These little moments that seem so big.

~ Dana


The 5 Minute Project: Stuffies

by admin on May 20, 2013


Morningbird by Forest Sun

by admin on May 5, 2013

My current favourite song



Mayan Ruins?

by admin on May 1, 2013

Remember the day we rented a golf cart in San Pedro to go see the Mayan Ruins ‘just out of town’? Remember how the road was so full of potholes that we nearly couldn’t hold on to said golf cart? Remember how when we saw the sign that said we had arrived we were all like ‘this is some sort of joke that they play on tourists?’ and then we walked for 20 minutes through mosquito infested swamp over an extremely dodgy, pieced together walkway to get to the ‘ruins’. There was nothing there but some information that basically said ‘imagine this like this’ and a poison wood tree who’s sap would make you sick if you touched it. That was quite an adventure :)

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San Pedro At Night

by admin on April 30, 2013

These were taken on my birthday. Bob and I had just had the most amazing couples massage at the end of a pier while the moon rose and we could hear the ocean beneath us. It was pretty magical. Then, we ate some street food. No, we didn’t get sick. The night shots ended here because the rum punch took hold and then I mostly felt like sleeping :)
Ah, Belize…so many more images to share. I’ll just keep doing it slowly, but surely…

~ Dana


Make More From Scratch

by admin on April 14, 2013

*photo credit goes to Gimme Some Oven. Mine didn’t look nearly as nice as this ;)

We recently made a sort of pledge. It was born out of Bob’s obsession with a new app called ‘Mint’ for his phone. It tracks all of our spending. A couple months of doing that and we realized one big thing…we are wasting a tonne of money eating out.
I used to like to cook…before I worked…but, as I got busy with my career and the kids got busy with activities, cooking went to the bottom of the priority list. We have noticed the affect on our pocketbook and our waistlines. So…we are going to try to eat in more often. I’ll share some of my new recipes here. Being a social media crazy person, I find most of my recipes on Pinterest. Some of them work well…and some, not so much. Today, we made this Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Chopped Salad from Gimme Some Oven. It was FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC…Being huge fans of both bacon and avocados helps for sure, but this is going to be a new go to favourite…give it a try ;) Just a note that we used goat’s cheese instead of blue cheese(no one here really likes blue cheese)…it worked well. And, we added the Dijon Mustard which is listed as optional. Jack LOVED it and has decided it should be called ‘Bacon Salad’…

~ Dana

PS–I know that I haven’t shared much from Belize. I promise that there is more to come.


Lesson Learned

by admin on April 4, 2013

This is the space where the image of Jack leaning against a palm tree with the words ‘no loitering’ written on it would be…

This is the space where I would post the image of Georgia feeding a spider monkey a pb&j sandwich…

Yup. Corrupted card. On holiday. It hardly seems fair. I have learned a valuable lesson though. First, I am getting an SD card to go in the SD slot of my 5D Mark III to act as a backup to my CF card. Just in case. Why I have never done this is beyond me…

Second…how valuable are these photographs? After all, they are really just of us on holiday…normal touristy stuff. Us at Lamanai…us at Caye Caulker…we had the discussion. Is it worth sending it to a card recovery company(after multiple failed attempts with consumer level card recovery software)? The answer is yes. I think it will cost about $500 to get them off of there(if they even can)…and the truth is, I’m going to spend what it takes to try. Made me stop and think about the importance of the images I take. Memories are good…and we’ll remember these things…and, my mom was there with her camera capturing some of it as well so it’s not like there are NO photographs of it. But, we value these images of our family time together. And, I know that in years to come…the kids will as well.

Hopefully, one day, I can post those photos for you…as well as the ones of the local boys eating the custard apples on a run down bridge before they jumped into the crocodile infested river. Crossing my fingers…

~ Dana