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Next year I have the privilege of being one of my best friends’ maid of honour. I’ve known her since grade 9 and I couldn’t be more excited to stand by her side while she marries her man - it’s going to be such a beautiful day!
As a lifestyle photographer, I’ve shot quite a few weddings throughout my career and have behind-the-scenes experience that I’d love to share with you! So if you’re a maid of honour I thought it would be fun to create a little MOH guide for you before your best friend says I do. If you’re a bride it might be a good idea to read through to make sure you’ve picked the right person to be your MOH (wink wink)
MAID OF HONOUR GUIDE
1. Long before the wedding day, you will need to show your support to the bride by being there for her when she needs help deciding things for her big day. Wether its helping decide her colours, planning an engagement party, letting her share all her pins with you on Pinterest, or meeting up with all the gals for a planning sesh, once you accept your role make sure you live up to to the title.
2. Give her a gift. Sure, the day is literally all about the bride and groom, but planning a wedding can be STRESSFUL, and she definitely deserves a little extra gesture to show her that she’s important to you. I would recommend getting her something useful and something that she can pamper herself with. I found this awesome heart shaped ring dish from Little Things Favours that I thought would make a perfect functional piece for a bride to store her rings post wedding. To make it even better you can personalize the initials to match hers and her grooms! Little Things Favours also has a huge variety of personalized gifts so you have plenty of options. Along with this practical gift, I would also include some items she can pamper herself with like a bath bomb, lotions, nail polish, and snacks! (Can’t forget the snacks!)
3. Make sure you’re available for all the dress related matters that she needs you there for. Of course the wedding dress process is very exciting, but it can also become a little overwhelming. Be there for her and help her out by taking pictures of each dress she tries on, keep track of prices, and most importantly be open minded! Nothing is worse than an over opinionated maid of honour - it’s the bride’s wedding, not yours!
4. Be her personal assistant at any wedding related events. Engagement parties and wedding showers can be hectic, especially when the bride and groom are surrounded by all of their family and friends and not to mention all the gifts! You can help her out by sorting and keeping track of the gifts and cards, refill any food and drink at the events so she can mingle, clean up the garbage, and most importantly make sure she has something to eat!
5. Plan her an awesome bachelorette! I should add that this is a group effort, so make sure all the girls (or boys) are involved! Today there are so many great options out there for a bachelorette that don’t break the bank! Rent out an AirBnB somewhere new, go to the spa, visit a winery, rent a cottage, the list is endless! Just make sure it reflects the brides interests (and don’t forget the naughty decor! )
6. Finally on the big day make sure you give her your undivided attention. This is her day and she will need you to be there for her whenever she needs something. Organize everything she needs to bring with her to the ceremony, make sure she has water, food and possibly some Tylenol. I would also recommend making up a small bag of emergency items like pads, tampons, bobby pins, a small sewing set with pins and needles, and tide-to-go! Now I know it’s tempting, but as the MOH you must remain relatively sober before the reception starts. By all means let loose (safely) after they say “I do” but before then she will need you to be ready to help her with anything like wrangling the family and friends for photos, keeping the wedding party together and to help with any last minute details before the wedding starts!
Oh.. and don’t forget to have fun ;)
Let me know what you think of this list and if I’m missing anything! I would love to hear your maid of honour stories!
©All wedding photographs by Michelle Liane Photography
Though I may not be going back to school this year (already got my BAA baby!) I thought it would be fun to share some of the essential items that I would have taken to school with me. I definitely use these often while working and would probably die without them! (dramatic enough?)
Let me know what some of your back to school (or work) essentials are in the comments below!
My new absolute favourite snack bars are the Probiotic bars by Welo. I suffer from a lot of stomach sensitivities, but these have helped me so much recently! A happy gut = a happy Michelle, thats for sure! They have multiple flavours to choose from, like my fave and a classic, Peanut Butter and Chocolate! They also have some options specifically for the kiddies as well so there's lots to choose from! I thought these would make an awesome addition to any lunch or could be enjoyed as a mid-day snack. Have you ever tried them?
My bullet journal is my all time life-saver. Almost all of the notes and ideas I jot down are written in this book. It's also compact enough to put in any bag or backpack, so it's ideal for on-the-go work or studying. Since the pages are dotted, they're truly customizable for whatever your needs are, and each page can be designed for something different! I think these would be great to use at school as an agenda, notebook, or for simply organizing your life. There are so many awesome page spreads on Pinterest if you're ever stuck for a page idea too - the possibilities are endless!
I got my bullet journal at Chapters Indigo.
This Micellar Water by Garnier is my holy grail necessity for my night-time skin routine. At the end of a long day at school (or work) I just want to get my makeup off as soon, and as fast as I possibly can... probably so I can give my eyes a good rub! This product removes makeup effortlessly and efficently. Since its no rinse, it's the perfect remover for gym class or school sports. All you need are some makeup pads and your good to go!
You can find it here: Garnier Micellar Water
I'm not exactly sure what these guys are called, but I call them swirly hair ties! I just started using these and I can't believe it's taken me this long! They leave no bumps or creases in your hair so they're great for throwing your hair in a quick ponytail in the middle of the day, during sports or gym class, or when it's homework crunch time!
My new favourite pants are these black track-like pants from Bench Canada. They're SOO comfortable, yet are still stylish so you know I would have been wearing these ALL the time while I was in college! They're easy to style and can be paired with a simple T-Shirt, or with a cute chunky sweater once this fall weather arrives.
You can find the pants at this link: Bench Black Pants
More often than not, self-love can be a daunting thing to wrap our heads around. Sure, we all know that self-love is made up of loving and being proud of our bodies which, don't get me wrong, is extremely important to the process; however, we sometimes forget that we have to love ourselves mentally too. Our thoughts and emotions, our reactions and ideas... we need to love those too.
We have to fully embrace the positive thoughts, but also welcome the negative. We have to remember to trust ourselves during times of panic, when we feel like we don't recognize who we are, we have to trust and love ourselves above all, to find our way back to clarity.
The process isn't easy and it takes a lot of practice, but learning to love your everything, whole heartedly, is the greatest gift you can give yourself - and I'm here to tell you that you deserve nothing but the best for yourself!
Have You Ever Felt This Way?
Have you ever felt inadequate? Like you weren't fitting in? Maybe you've pinched some skin on your tummy and thought you were too fat, or even too skinny.
Have you ever looked at a magazine, or scrolled through your Instagram feed and thought " I'll never look like her/him" Have you ever judged yourself because your work or ideas were different than someone's you admire? Do you ever compare your art to the work of another artist? Have you ever judged someone, a stranger, for not looking the way you think is "right"? A subconscious self-reflection of something or someone you think you don't want to be?
Well my friends, if you answered yes to any of the above (and some) I think we need a change.
Trust me, I've been there too. I'll look in the mirror and pick apart things I consider my flaws.
"My legs are too big" I'll say, or " Don't get my bad side for the photo!"
This needs to stop. We need to stop criticizing ourselves and stop creating a self-worth based on how we look, or the things we own. We need to stop comparing ourselves to those around us.
Change negativity for the sake of negativity, and turn it into positive thoughts and affirmations. Big changes will come to you if you flush out the ego and manifest pure love.
I know, I know! It sounds hella' cliche, but it honestly works. Our minds have the ability to do way more than we could ever imagine if you just open up and allow it to work.
So my friends, next time you look in the mirror, see your family or friends, cross paths with your so-called "enemy", create something, write something down, cook, dance, etc... kick judgement to the curb and thrive in your own cultivated energy of love and positivity.
Also I know it's hard to think positively every single day, but just remember that we must be our own # 1 fan! We have to give ourselves the chance. A chance to grow, a chance to flourish, and a chance to learn.
If you got this far, thank you for reading my brain dump! I'd love to know some of the ways you practice self-love and positivity in your life - please feel free to let me know in the comments below!
I've been wanting to share more about myself and my values on the journal recently, and I thought it would be fun to share 20 facts about me!
1. I love to tell stories and share new and exciting ideas with others.
2. I started dating my boyfriend after graduating high school and we have been friends since grade 9! We've been together for 6 years :)
3. My boyfriend and I lived in Muskoka for a year.
4. I am a huge animal lover, and would love to own a hobby farm one day ;)
5. I eat a plant-based diet and LOVE to cook. I also love to share my recipes on her and on instagram!
6. I own a rescue dog named Jax who came all the way from Kentucky. We found him through the rescue agency Our Angels Dog Rescue - go check them out!
7. I have a rare auto immune disease called Morphea (Scleroderma) and am very passionate about spreading awareness for this disease, and for sharing the experiences and stories of others.
8. I have recently started painting and drawing again and am so happy. It's a great way to zone out of the stresses in life.
9. I love my morning coffee time, and usually spend it reflecting on things I am grateful for in my life. I start the morning on a more positive note and it helps to create an intention for the rest of my day.
10. I have a YouTube channel and my goal is to create more videos for it this year, stay tuned for those!
11. my guilty pleasure is definitely chocolate.. but not the crunchy, filled kind... just plain ol' smooth vegan chocolate!
12. My boyfriend's family own a cottage on Six Mile Lake in Muskoka, and it's our favourite place to be... ever!
13. I love to be outdoors and enjoy going for hikes, especially in the fall, but going for canoe rides in the warmer months takes the cake. There's nothing like a sunrise, or sunset canoe!
14. I believe in honesty and always telling the truth. I open up to people very easily, but I can close up just as fast!
15. I think that removing negative energy from your life is very important for your health and well being. If it's coming from someone you work with, a friend, or even a family member, you may need to create some distance from them for your own sake.
16. I am a firm believer in taking the scenic route! ;)
17. I put the spice turmeric on almost all of the food I make because of it's many health benefits. Turmeric has a natural ant-inflammatory compound (which is great for my autoimmune disease), it increases the bodies antioxidant capacity and helps to fight and prevent cancers, and so many more positive properties! I highly recommend adding it to your daily spices!
18. I strongly believe that you should always print your photographs! In todays digital age, don't let them die in a computer graveyard!
19. I have a collection of various healing stones that I have strong draw to. My favourite stone is my smooth amethyst that I carry around with me to help ease my anxieties. *hippie shit*
20. I have a bachelors degree in photography from Sheridan College. FUN FACT - my Dad took the same course 30 years ago!
Unlike January, which felt like an entire year packed into a single month, February flew by at an insane pace. Although being born in February makes me a little bias, February is my favourite month. By this time the snow has fallen and has left its beautiful mark all over the landscape making for some awesome photo opportunities. It starts to feel like spring towards the end of the month, and I can almost see the end of our long and cold Canadian winters. It also means that I get to go up north to the cottage for my birthday and spend time with some of my favourite people! We went up for the weekend and ate too much food, drank the cold chill away, and indulged in some delicious vegan cakes!
I know it’s the middle of March now, but I wanted to share some of my favourite things from the month of February that I think are some great pick-me-ups for the winter season.
1. “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero
I don’t mean to sound like one of those people who talk about how a book changed their life, but.. this book changed my life! It opened my eyes to a lot of things I had previously heard about but didn’t fully understand. The author is great at explaining her perspectives and ideas, and she added some further references at the end of the book if you needed some more help understanding. To be honest, the first time I saw this book I was completely turned off by the title, rolling my eyes at the idea of “being a badass” I put it down and didn’t purchase it until a few months later - which was a total mistake! (Don’t judge a book by its cover guys!) I finally started actually reading the book and couldn't stop, I was glued to it at the end of the day or on the train to work. It helped inspire me to pursue my full ‘badass’ potential, and now I’m trying my best to apply what I’ve learned to my everyday life! You can buy it here
2. Lush’s “Celestial” Facial Moisturizer.
This one is a winter dry-skin life saver! Since I have permanent Morphea (see my blog here) on my face, it’s particularly important to keep the affected areas moisturized to prevent any irritation. On top of this, I also have sensitive skin on my face so it made finding a moisturizer that actually worked very difficult! I had always loved lush for their yummy smelling, and environmentally cautious products, so when I went in to restock my shower essentials I asked the lovely attendant about what she recommended for a sensitive facial moisturizer and she brought me Celestial. I immediately loved the smell of this product, it’s almost like a vanilla icing! I also love that you only need a little bit of the product to go a long way. I usually only dab on 4 or 5 spots of the lotion onto my face and it provides full coverage. It leaves my face feeling super soft and smooth, and is great for underneath a full face of makeup! Also so happy that this product is also vegan and not tested on animals!
You can buy it here
3. “Enjoy Life Foods, Dark Chocolate Chips”
I am a chocoholic - there, I said it! Since becoming vegan, I was having a tough time finding a vegan chocolate that I could snack on and that wasn’t super expensive. I found the Enjoy Life brand at a local Whole Foods and haven’t looked back. It’s great for baking (obviously) but I also keep it around as a snack when I get a craving for sweets. The dark chocolate ones are my favourite, as they’re just the right amount of sweetness!
You can buy them here
5. Balzac’s Coffee Roaster
My boyfriend and I have become coffee snobs in the best way possible! We were taste-testing a few different brands of whole bean coffee roasts when I came across Balzac’s in the store one day. I knew about this company before, they have a great little location in Toronto in the Distillery District that I’ve been to, but I had never tried their whole beans. Well it’s safe to say I’m hooked! We usually buy the Farmer’s Blend and use our french press to make our coffee. I literally go to bed excited to have my coffee in the morning!
You can find it here
6. Helly Hansen Boyne Insulated Jacket
I found this jacket by accident while looking for a jacket for my boyfriend. It was the last one that I could find in this style and was actually on sale! I had my old jacket for ages and it was starting to look the part. This one is a great colour, it’s just long enough and has a nice swoop in the back. I love that its waterproof and insulated, making it functional and fashionable.
You can find it here
7. Canon 5D Mark III
My camera is an essential to my life and my business, and I’m including it in this list because I have been using it in abundance for the month of February! Recently I’ve been practicing videography, and I have been trying to collaborate with other creatives and photographers as much as I can. I use my camera to express myself creatively and to have fun. I am so lucky that I get to combine what I love doing and making money.
You can find it here
Before reading, please feel free to read my first blog post about Morphea and Scleroderma if you have never heard of this disease before! You can find it here.
Since posting my first blog post about my auto immune disease Morphea and from posting self-portraits on instagram, I’ve had a a handful of women and young girls reach out to me to share their own experience with this disease. Since Morphea is such a rare disease it’s quite uncommon for a doctor to recognize it, let alone ever meet someone in passing who has Morphea or knows what Morphea is. This makes it very easy to feel like you’re the only one in the whole world that has this disease.
Before branching out of my comfort zone and sharing my experience online I had never met anyone with Morphea or Scleroderma, and I have had this disease since my early childhood. Even with going to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, I had never crossed paths with another patient who had Morphea. Reflecting back, I realize how helpless and self-conscious I was as a child. I felt like I had no one to relate to and that no one truly understood the personal issues that come with growing up with Morphea.
After sharing my experience and photo series online, I came across the Scleroderma Society of Ontario. This organization puts together fundraiser events every year to benefit the research of finding a treatment or cure for this complex disease. I was also able to meet up with two lovely ladies who both have facial morphea like myself, one who was about my age, and a young girl visiting Canada from the states, whose sweet mother contacted me after posting my first blog post. (Shout out to my old doctors at Sick Kids for sharing my original blog post with your colleagues!)
I just want to take the time to say to all of those who have shared their stories and experiences with me, that I am so thankful that you contacted me. It’s because of you that I want to continue to write about Morphea, and continue to create projects showcasing this unique disease. We have to remember that we are truly unique individuals who share this disease, and that the disease does NOT define who we are. We are so much more than a percentage, more than a patient, we are more than the ignorant comments about the appearance of our skin. We are friends, family, children, mothers and fathers. You might be athletic, or funny, or creative, or independent. You might love to read books, or you might love to cook. Whatever you may be, just remember that you’re a rare one, and not just because of you’re disease.