I’m sorry I haven’t been updating as much as I’d like. Life got in the way, and photographing subjects just isn’t as easy as it used to be. I yearn to get out there and do more. I am hopeful for 2013 and what treasures it will bring, and I will concentrate on my photography more. I’m going to go through my archives and see what I would like to share in the upcoming days/weeks.

Until then, Happy Holidays to you all and I look forward to all your creative works.

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Things I’ve learned as an expat

-It really SUCKS having to many suitcases or boxes while moving from place to place (let alone city to city/country to country), so it makes sense to edit your belongings.
-Squat toilets are not that bad, sometimes even more sanitary that so-called “western” toilets
-It pays to have good bargaining skills
-Just because somebody’s English skills aren’t what you consider good, doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

-Not having TV on all the time is not a bad thing.

-Traveling with allergies is a bitch!

-When people appear rude when you buy something from them, it might just be the way they act to survive (to get more money to live, since their income is probably less stable than ours)

-A smile goes a long way

-Photography always opens the doors to conversation, when people let you take photos, that is

-Always try to be sincere when speaking to others in their native tongue, not because you want to impress them. Locals know the difference

-Just because when you purchase something you think it’s cheap, think about how cheap it is according to the country you live in

-Public transportation is fun. If it is not, it is at least a valuable lesson in how locals live and learn not to take the fact that we can afford a taxi for granted

-Don’t be afraid of getting lost, you never know what you may find

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Curbing sugar cravings

One of the worst things I ever did to my body (and my health) in the past was eat a whole wackload of sugar. Of course, back then, I was a bit niave and didn’t really realize the consequences it had on me.  Here is what I wouldn’t think twice of eating in the past:

-sugary cakes, such as muffins, cheesecake, breads,etc. for any meal

-soda and sugary fruit juices

-refined pasta and grains

-loads of white sugar in tea and coffee

I’ve drastically reduced this, and feel much better for it. I’ve stopped eating processed sugar altogether, and avoid any sauces that have added, and stopped drinking juice (you wouldn’t believe  how much sugar they add in ALL their drinks in China!).

Of course, I’m not giving up everything with sugar in it, such as wine and natural sugars in fruit, but I know in order for me to keep my health in check like I have been, I have to stop eating sugar that is refined. Though, taking refined flour out of my diet is going to take more than a few weeks, as I really enjoy dumplings at this little cafe I frequent and they use white flour for their dumpling skins. I will admit however, it is really hard sometimes to pass by sweet shops and not get tempted, especially if there is good quality mango sorbet, tee hee.

I’ve found some ways that have helped me give into temptation:

1) Avoid foods that are too salty/spicy –  I always crave sweet drinks if I go for Korean food (for example), so not eating foods like that helps me want less sugar

2) Stop drinking coffee/black tea – I used to have milk and sugar with that, and I find myself still justifying that one pack of sugar is not so bad. I stick with herbal teas or green tea with a bit of honey if I want something sweet.

3) Keep a bag of seeds or unsalted nuts on hand – If I’m hungry, I make silly choices and go for the first thing I see in the convenience store.  That way, if something is around my desk and I can eat it right way, it will stop me from making  a poor choice.

4) Don’t look at food I cannot have – I pass my this sorbet store all the time, but once I figured out that if I look straight ahead and not look at my favourite flavour, I thought less about it, which means I crave it less.

5) Remind myself of why I am doing this in the first place – My eczema symptoms flare up, or my energy levels dip, or I get moody. I don’t want that happening anymore!

6) Don’t see it as giving up something, but as a step to gaining something, like my health – When I had to stop eating certain goods due to allergies, I was quite upset because I kept thinking I was giving something up. If I continue to think this way, of course I’d want to rebel from it and eat what I shouldn’t.

7) Don’t be too hard on myself if I cheat every once in a while – Once a month I do give myself a treat (I had chocolate mousse at a five star hotel and it was glorious!), but of course it should be a treat of quality, so I don’t continue craving something sweet after said cheat item is eaten.

8) Keep track whenever I eat sugar – I surprise myself at how much I cheat if I don’t hold myself accountable. I remember when I started reducing my intake of sugar, I actually ate more! Having a list in front of me every once in a while does put things into perspective.

What are your ways to stop yourself from giving into temptation? Any tips?

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So I’ve been volunteered to take photographs for a wedding. Now I don’t really know this couple, and for some very complicated reasons, I’ve been volunteered because a) I am the only ‘professional’ (very loose terms here) they know b) I am doing this as a favour to help this person save money.  My husband thinks it’ll be no problem, as he says the couple won’t care, just as long as ‘I get a couple of shots’.  Now something in my brain is obviously screaming ‘no!’  First, I don’t just want to take any old photograph. Second, wedding photography is serious business. I don’t know this couple, nor their expectations for their day, plus it’s a couple’s important day.  There is a reason why people can charge $1000 USD and up for such a service, and I am doing this for free!

The other issue is that I’ve reduced my camera collection to a couple of old film cameras, and I am NOT risking using film during the wedding.  I have a little digital point and shoot that just won’t do. So I’m left relying on borrowing and renting equipment. I’d like to practice and get a sense of how rushed I’d feel.  I think I should be ok photographing people since I have shot models and have done street photography in the past. But still.

But then again, I always put too much pressure on myself anyway.  In the end, I can only do my best and I hope to take some nice photographs for the couple.

For those who are in the same position as me, or are starting out in wedding photography, here is a good link to get you started. I’ve been reading too many articles like this lately haha..

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