Color Study: Cool vibes

IACW_morning light3.jpg

As a photographer you tend to have your favorite times of day and seasons to take pictures. For me it’s morning light and the Fall. What do they have in common? Cool light. Seriously, I love the freshness of morning light with all it’s possibility and optimism, it may be one reasons I’m morning person – but I digress.

Cool light, as well as colors tones, can be associated with tranquility and nature or when dark and contrasty, they can be moody and gritty. It all depends on style and what the artist is trying to convey.

IACW_cool collage.jpg

I will throw a little science in just for fun: As we discovered in my post on the color blue, we perceive these cool tones through an optical illusion called Raleigh Scattering. These shorter wavelengths have a temperature and that is measured on the Kelvin scale, rather than degrees of Fahrenheit or Celsius. On the scale the higher the temperature number the bluer it will be and the lower the number the warmer or more yellow it will be. (wikipedia Kelvin may sound familiar from your high school science class OR depending on your camera model, you may have Kelvin (K) as an option as a White Balance setting along with sun, shade, tungsten, fluorescent, etc.

IACW_blue light.jpg

Side Note: White Balance (WB) is a whole blog post of it’s own, but if you are feeling creative and adventurous we recommend you play around with your WB settings and see what happens to your images.

IACW_cool.jpg

As the weather is heating up, we thought it would be fun to do a study of all things cool! For the next few weeks we will be capturing cool light and cool tones, if you would like to join us on this color adventure post your photos on our FB page or use the hashtag #IACWcoolvibes on Instagram. We will be sharing all the pics here on the blog. Can’t wait to see your cool world through your lens!

Stay cool,

kdg

 

Facing FaceBook

Facebook! What a wonderful tool! No one can argue what a remarkable social media and marketing site it is. How it brings people together, keeps us informed and even entertained. I am a user and a fan of Facebook.

I also believe that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. This week I did a little experiment! I took Facebook off my phone. I did not disconnect, I still have it on my computer, and since I do not have a desk job and only work from my computer about 3 times a week, I now check Facebook about 3 times a week and not 3 times before 10am.

My goal with this step is to get more intentional with my relationships. If I want to see how someone’s sick child is doing, rather than have Facebook tell me, I am reaching out on a personal level and finding out for myself. And what about my friends latest beach holiday, let me call them up! This little experiment has already freed up a lot of space in my mind, my thoughts are no longer consumed with what other people are doing.

Facebook is a fantastic tool in helping people stay connected and I’ve taken advantage of it’s marketing reach time and time again, but it can most certainly cross over into an unhealthy obsession with what thy neighbour is up to, if we let it. So let’s take Facebook back to being a tool shall we?! I wouldn’t carry a screwdriver around with me everywhere and look at it every 30 mins would I? Nope, but I would grab it and make full use of it when I need to. So why not do the same with Facebook, and many other time consuming social media apps. Time we can never get back, time we could be spending investing in relationships face to face. Time spent playing with our children.

I still keep up to date with news and groups that I follow through twitter and Instagram. And again I must stress, I really appreciate how Facebook keeps me tied to my family and friends around the world. This is by no means an anti-Facebook post, this is more of a post encouraging a healthy relationship with Facebook and even more so, healthy relationships with the people who mean the most. And yes, I will still post this onto our Facebook group, why? Because I like and appreciate Facebook, and I’m learning better ways to use it as the tool it was designed to be.

Cheers

My Madeira

As summer rolls around and I hear of people’s plans for grand summer vacations, I can’t help but think back to our “best ever family holiday” – Madeira, Portugal – 2016.

1DSC_5492 copy

During July/August two years ago our family travelled to Lisbon and Madeira. It felt like a ‘right of passage’ kind of trip. It simply HAD to be done. My children are Portuguese, as is my husband. For me growing up in a little town called Boksburg in South Africa, most of my childhood friends were Portuguese. I have always felt really close to this ‘family first’ community. As a young adult, one of my dearest friends was Portuguese and I was maid-of-honour at her wedding, it was at this wedding that I met John. He was the cousin to the young man who married my friend.

Needless to say I have always had a heart to explore Portugal. I think out of all of us in my little family, I was the most excited. I had just finished a Portuguese language course before this trip as well and I found that to be highly valuable. While most people in Lisbon speak some level of English, most of the family and locals in Madeira do not. While I still feel somewhat clumsy speaking Portuguese, my reading and comprehension, I think, is really pretty good.

1DSC_5356 copy1DSC_5231 copy1DSC_4831 copy1DSC_4608 copy1DSC_4552 copy1DSC_4378 copy1DSC_4370 copy

My kids at the time were 5y 10m, 4y, 2y 6m. My gosh looking back at it like this I think they were true travel stars! It is, without a doubt, the most amazing family holiday we have ever had. The weather was spot on. The perfect amount of summer heat! We were out everyday doing new things, exploring, soaking in new traditions and culture, tasting new foods, making memories. So yes, while everyone here is making their plans for this coming summer holiday, my heart goes back fondly to our time there. If you ever have the opportunity to go, please make a plan and get there. It really is one of the worlds greatest treasures! This time of year, my heart truly aches to go back.

1DSC_4741 copy1DSC_4667 copy1DSC_4336 copy

And as an added bonus this photograph below of, the worlds best Poncha, was featured on @ilovemadeira Instagram page.

1DSC_5552 copy

Above all though, wherever your summer holidays may take you, please stay safe and make beautiful family memories.

Cheers

la

Black Isle Brewery – Scotland

Black Isle - 4620.jpg

It wouldn’t be a DG family adventure without us checking out the local brew scene. We discovered a stellar brewery just outside Inverness, Scotland. The Black Isle Brewery started as a Homebrew operation 20 years ago and now ships all around Europe and as far as Canada and Japan. They haven’t broken into the USA market yet, but I’m certain they will at some point. They are that good!

Black Isle - 4707.jpg

In 2011 they moved to their current facility located north of Inverness and 2 years ago opened their first brewpub in the city itself.

Black Isle - 4685.jpg

We visited the brewpub first for some delicious pizzas and to sample a few brews before making the 20 minute trek to the brewery the following day. At the pub, the atmosphere is light and funky, combining the classic wood and industrial look of the brew world with pops of tangerine and painted murals of the local landscape (pictured behind our sleepy kid below, ha). In addition to the food and beverages, you can also rent a room and stay for the night as you romp around the highlands or if you’ve just one too many Migrator DIPA’s to continue on.

Black isle brew pub.jpg

Having had a lovely evening the night before, we were happy to visit the brewery itself. Kate, our brew guide, met us at the door and invited us on a tour of the facility to learn about their process and their space. She was so kind to our boys and didn’t mind their silly questions and odd comments like “yum it smells like pasta!” What?! Not like this is their first brewery, ha! Boiling wort does not smell like pasta, I promise!

Black isle brewery

We learned that they are committed to a totally organic process and grow most of their malts on the farm next to the facility. Once the mash is finished, they feed the spent grain to the black sheep in their pastures. Since Scotland is too cold to grow their own hops, they source organic hops from California and New Zealand, depending on the recipes.

I really dig their logo as well, design geek that I am. It features the flower of Scotland, the thistle, and each brew has a designated color for the bloom of the thistle. The creative behind the labels and logo is the brewer’s wife. She recently started to develop variations on the their original labels to differentiate between their flagship brews and their special ones like their barrel aged oatmeal stout and collaboration brews. Oh, and we learned that each of the brews is named after a bird in from the area too, pretty cool.

Black Isle - 4695.jpg

We had the honor of interacting with the master brewer himself. He overheard us and recognized that the hubs is a true brew lover, so he stopped and chatted for a minute. He demanded that we take home two bottles of the newest brews literally fresh off the label line! He was correct in his suspicion that we love us some hops!

Black Isle - 4692.jpg

Another great note about Black Isle Brewery that makes them stand out from other local UK brews are their higher ABVs (alcohol by volume). Although they do have sessions ales at about 3%-4.5%, good for a few rounds at the pub, they also have some heavy hitters at 8-10.4% (specifically of interest to my beer guy!). We found it rather interesting how low the average ABV is here, but it makes sense if you plan to be watching a rugby match for hours. Interestingly, I did recently learn from some British friends that if you go outside the main cities to the small towns, the pubs have taps with higher ABVs. It’s good to be “staggering distance” from your lodgings though!

If you’re visiting Scotland and like a well crafted, organic brew, we highly recommend tasting one of the many Black Isle ales they offer. They even have a tasty Gluten Free brew called the Gold Finch. This brewery truly was a standout for us. Try it and let us know your thoughts!

Cheers!

kdg

Follow along with our brew adventures with #dgbrewphotos on Instagram.

The Last Rose

rose

What’s in a Rose? Usually, it’s a symbol of love. We give roses to people to show them that we love them, to let them know we are thinking of them, and perhaps that we wish them a speedy recovery. It is also a popular flower come Mother’s Day.

This rose is very special to me. You see, 9 years ago, I had sent my mother flowers for Mother’s Day.  She saw them, smelled them, they made her smile, they sat lovingly in our home. I was in Kuwait and my mom was in and out of hospital at the time, but doing pretty well considering three years of failing health. A few weeks later she was booked in for major surgery, I sent her more flowers. roses. They made it to her, she saw them. And then I received a phone call in the middle of the night that no one wants to get. “Your mom is struggling, they don’t think she’s going to make it” I was on the first available flight home and as I landed, headed straight to the hospital from the airport. I made it in time to hold her hand and rub her feet as she slowly lost her very loose grip on this life. Finally when I made it home to the house in the early hours of the following morning, I saw the big bouquet of roses that I had bought for her only a few days before.

I picked one of these roses, placed it in her sunglass case and kept it safe all these years. The rose we had both laid eyes on. Like a weak substitute since our own eyes never got to meet again.

This Mother’s Day, as I remember the rose that I lost, I also celebrate the rose that I have become to my 3 beautiful children and more so, I celebrate the roses that stepped up to comfort me and lead me from that day on. My mother-in-law, my stepmom, my grandmother, my friends, my great aunts, my close circle. My bouquet of people.

So today I write this post to honour ALL moms out there, the ones with children who are naturally theirs, the ones with babies still in their bellies, the ones who have lost angels in their wombs, the ones who choose to parent blessed adopted children, the ones who have suffered the unspeakable loss of a child, the ones who become stepmothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, the ones who become mother figures to friends, the ones who mother their communities with love and pride.

Mothers come in all different ways, shapes and forms, but one thing is without doubt, they are to be truly treasured and appreciated every single day.

Happy Mother’s Day.

la

Navigating Society 6 online store – Ellay Art

One major problem I seem to have these days is that the creativity keeps flowing, photos get taken, paintings come together, products get created, yet I seem to hoard everything for myself. Society6 seems to be the solution to this problem. I thought I’d give them a try. Katie and both have come to love our online stores.

We decided to create our very own online Society6 stores. What I like most about this site is that they produce really very good quality products, they are constantly having sales (which don’t affect the artist) they handle all the shipping (to anywhere in the world) and they leave me to do what I love best, CREATE!

I have put a small video clip together to help you navigate Ellay Art store online.

I absolutely love supporting emerging artists. I feel like magic still lives there.

Enjoy

la

An Outlander’s Adventure in Scotland

“I had been in a number of cold places in my life, but there’s something remarkably penetrating about the Scottish cold.”  – Diana Gabaldon, Outlander 

IACW - inverness2023.JPG

I have Irish blood, but it is paired with some tropic and humidity-loving Puerto Rican blood, so I was flipping freezing in Scotland in March! Meanwhile, my beloved husband breathed it in like the cold was refreshing his soul. The cool 40 degree temps went well with all his Scot and Viking blood. Our tiny one was with Dad on this one, he kept pointing to the snow capped mountains of the Highlands saying he wanted to go there! Apparently, his Celt blood is stronger than the few drops of islander blood in this particular case. Meanwhile, our older one was wearing layers like his momma ready to run indoors!

That said, I do love it there too. In addition to my husband’s obvious connection through his heritage (which was so fun to teach the boys about), the landscape is breathtaking and the people are down right lovely and hospitable!

This was our second trip to bonnie old Scotland. The first time was in May 2013 with just one wee laddie in tow and my brother-in-law. That was an awesome adventure and our first travel abroad experience with kids. Needless to say, we have learned a lot since, ha!

IACW - inverness2021.JPG

When we arrived in Scotland from our London adventure we made Inverness our home for a few days. We particularly love the city of Inverness, which means mouth of the River Ness in Gaelic. The city is split with the River Ness running through it with multiple bridges connecting it along the way. There are several churches and steeples dotting the skyline, as well as Inverness Castle on the hill overlooking the bustle of the capital of the Highlands.

IACW - inverness2020.JPG

Fun fact: Scotland is home to the largest dolphins in the world, they can grow to be as long 4M (12FT)! Inverness is located near the North Sea where these clever giants call home, so you can even take a dolphin cruise to search of them. Sadly we didn’t see any this time, but the boat ride was a fun addition to our trip and our tour guide was super informative.

IACW_inverness2034.JPG

We stayed at the Westoburne Guest House overlooking the river. It was fantastic and the owners went over an beyond to take care of us. Kirsteen, one of the owners, even packed this prego a bag of her amazing homemade shortbread for the road! It is seriously the best I have ever tasted! We highly recommend the Westbourne, but wherever you stay, include visit the infamous Culloden battlefield and ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, both of which are points of interest for fans of Outlander books and Starz series, which we are. Funnily enough, visiting these two sites began our spontaneous Outlander tour.

IACW - inverness2024

IACW - inverness2026

IACW - inverness2028

IACW - inverness2027

Even when we visited Beauly Priory we overheard a kilted guide discussing the real dynamics between the MacKenzie and Fraser clans.

IACW - inverness2022

Then on the way from Stirling (a post all it’s own) to Edinburgh, saw signs for Blackness Castle where they filmed the scenes of Ft. William, so we took the chilly detour. However, the highlight to our little tour was visiting the dilapidated Midhope Castle – the fictional home of James Fraser – Lallybroch.

IACW - inverness2033

IACW - inverness2032

Needless to say, it was such a fun adventure finding our way into the imaginary world of Outlander and exploring the areas around the River Ness and Highlands. It was especially special to share it all with our laddies. If you plan your trip to Scotland we hope you will not miss out on these beautiful areas.

Cheers,

kdg

 

Jim Carrey- the painter

Not only was he one of my favourite actors when I was a child. He has now captured my love and respect as an adult in the form of an artist, more specifically, as a painter.

When I came across this article, I simply had to read more. And when I came across the title of his collection of paintings, I knew I had to share it with you all. The title:

“I needed color”

 

Much like Jim carry, I find myself painting – for myself, for no other reason except there is something in me that needs to come out. It’s incredibly therapeutic and yes sometimes even foreshadowing too. I find myself tucking artwork away, under beds, behind doors, in boxes in storage. Thank goodness we moved into a house with more storage! My poor husband. Hopefully my paintings will one day narrate a story for my children, one that words can simply not accurately enough portray.

For the full online article click here. It’s worth a read!

Cheers

la

Nomadic Friends

IACW - bloom

In a way I was born to be a nomad. I’m a second generation military brat and we moved every two to three years. Like other military brats, I never knew how to answer the question, “where are you from?” That is until about 5 few years ago when I moved from Virginia to Kuwait.

After a stint of almost 8 years in Virginia, (literally the longest I have ever lived in one place), where I graduated from college, met my husband, and had my babies; our little family of four left home and moved to Kuwait. I was confident that we would love this adventurous life and that raising citizens of the world would be amazing, but I had forgotten one lesson I had been taught all those years as a military brat: how to “bloom where I was planted.” I convinced myself that it was about this family I was building and that I didn’t need any new friends. I had “my people” back home. I could make it on my own until our next trip home.

Who was I kidding? I’m an extrovert! Within a week of settling in I dropped my proverbial basket and had a complete meltdown about how lonely I was. Life in a foreign country is hard enough. You need people who understand  just how foreign and often times frustrating a place/people can be, to support you and help you laugh your way through it.

A few weeks later, at pickup from Montessori school, I saw this mom and thought, “I’m going to be her friend.” It took a few more chit chats at pickup to find my way in, and I pretty much forced a coffee/play date on her. Love you Liz!

Liz & k.jpg

Although she was my first real friend in Kuwait, she was just the beginning of our crew that we now call the ABCDGs. Five families (including Lindy-Ann’s) that became each other’s village. Our kids grew up together for a time, our husbands teased each other endlessly (still do), and we kept each other sane living the desert life. Even though a couple of us have moved away, we’re still connected and share our lives with each other thanks to technology. However, the best thing is when we get the chance to travel together or to visit each other. It’s in those times that we continue making memories, laughing, and bonding.

ABCDG girls.jpg

ABCDG girls2

Over this past spring break, the ABCDGs ladies met up in London, prompting my family’s latest adventure to the UK. Sadly, Lindy-Ann couldn’t join us, but she was definitely there in spirit! It was such a fab time to be with 3 of my 4 buddies and I will cherish those moments until we are together again!

london_0647.jpg

No matter where you are in your journey, whether an expat or in the same town for decades, don’t close your heart to new people. You never know how they may change you forever. Thank you, Kate, Lindy-Ann, Liz, and Michelle for being a part of my life – you and your families mean so much to us! Until the next ABCDG adventure…

With Love,

kdg

It’s a…

DG baby profile_1744.jpg

Thank you to everyone who commented on last weeks update video, we definitely felt all the love! It’s so fun to share this journey with you!

Without further ado it’s a BOY! A third Boy!

third boy copy.jpg

Yes, to answer the obvious question, we were trying for a girl. It was a little sad for me, at first, to know I will not be braiding the hair of a daughter of my own, but that’s ok, I have plenty of wee girlfriends to borrow!

I’ve also been having lots of revelations about being a #boymomforlife over the past few days and I realized it suits me. As my husband reminded me, I do actually like superheroes, Star Wars, and “boy” things.

I was also reminded that as a boy mom I have the honor of raising my boys to be good men. Men who are respectful, supportive, gentle, strong, loving, compassionate, and faithful. Men that could be humble leaders with integrity, wisdom, and discernment. Future husbands who would love and cherish their wives and encourage them to pursue their dreams too. To be fathers that would be present, involved, and willing to model THE Father’s grace-filled love for their own children. Simply put, to be men like their daddy (full disclosure: he would say to be better than him).

DG fam announcement_5502

These are my prayers for my boys and I’m humbled at the task of raising these three arrows.

That said, we’re not perfect, I mess up daily, but that’s where the grace and loads of prayers come in. That’s why we have mommy mentors, grandparents, and teacher friends to lean on for help and to give advice. “It takes a village to do life well,” as Emily Ley says. What a relief right?!

Whelp, it’s going to be a wild, noisy, dirty, sweaty adventure filled with sweet moments and I look forward to sharing it with you, in addition to the usual creativity, inspiration, tutorials, and fun here on the blog!

cheers,

kdg