2017 Christmas Photo Challenge

Happy December everyone! The majority of us are in the swing of the Christmas spirit and NOW always seems like the perfect time to start something, right? We are excited to announce the:

 12 Shots of Christmas Photo Challenge!

This year we are going to do things a little bit differently than in the past, we are going to select a winner from the participants!

This winner will receive an Amazon gift voucher to the value of $50.

To participate you must LIKE and FOLLOW It’s a Colour World on Facebook. Post your images there to be viewed. The image with the highest number of FB likes will be the winner.

We can’t wait to see your fabulous entries!

IACW - 12 shots of Christmas Photo List.jpg

RULES:

ELIGIBILITY: All are eligible

CONTEST SPONSOR: It’s a Colourful World (IACW)

CONTEST NAME: 12 shots of Christmas Photo Challenge

CONTEST PERIOD: December 6 – December 31, 2017

ENTRY PERIOD:
Starts December 6, 2017 at 12:01 am ET.
Ends December 31, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: The Photo Contest images will be announced here on It’s A Colourful World Blog, IACW Facebook page, and IACW Instagram on Saturday, January 13, 2017.

HOW TO ENTER:  Must LIKE and FOLLOW IACW Facebook and FOLLOW the blog. Participants may enter up to 1 image per theme, up to 12 total, by posting on the IACW Facebook.

SELECTION OF WINNERS: Images entered in the IACW Facebook will be judged per the following:

Technical Execution: The intentional use of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, available light, composition, and focus.

Composition: The creative use of positioning, colour, and framing to capture the subject of the theme.

Theme: Creative expression of the designated theme submitted.

The image with the highest number of FB likes will be the winner.

Tie breaking judging panel is made up of IACW designated individuals who will select images using the above criteria.


TERMS OF ENTRY: (a) By participating in this Contest, Contestant warrants that his or her entry and all elements thereof (i) do not infringe or violate the rights of any third party, including but not limited to, copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, logos, contract and licensing rights, rights of publicity or privacy, moral rights, or any other intellectual property rights; (ii) are not subject to any third party agreements for which IACW could be held financially or legally liable; and (iii) do not contain any content that could adversely affect the name, reputation, mission, or goodwill of IACW. Contestant agrees to indemnify IACW against all damages, costs, and attorney’s fees related to any claims or litigation that arises in relation to Contestant’s participation in the Contest.
(b) IACW reserves the right to disqualify any entries that, in IACW’s sole and absolute discretion, (i) include trademarks, logos, or copyrighted material not owned by Contestant or used without permission; (ii) refer to public figures; (iii) contain profanity, pornographic or sexual content, illegal drugs, tobacco, or firearms or weapons, hateful content of any kind, content that promotes violence or harm to another living creature; (iv) promote a political agenda regardless of the political affiliation and regardless of IACW’s treatment of other entries that may or may not promote a political agenda; (v) defame, misrepresent, or contain disparaging remarks about other people or companies; or (vi) contain materials embodying the names, likenesses, photographs or other identifying elements of any person, living or dead, without permission.
(c) Contestants may not submit entries on behalf of any person other than themselves. If contestant is a minor under the age of 18, contestant must enter with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. Entries not submitted in accordance with the instructions provided in the Official Rules shall be disqualified.
(d) The contestant retains the copyright and exclusive possession of all submissions. The contestant will grant to IACW the nontransferable, nonexclusive license to use, with complete attribution, via any medium, the submission for promotional or other purposes as deemed fit by IACW for a period of two years from the closing date of the contest.
(e) IACW reserves the right to disqualify any entry, for any reason, at its sole discretion.
(f) Neither IACW nor any of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, contractors, subcontractors and each of their respective officers, directors, shareholders, agents and employees, nor any Internet access providers are responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry of information, human error, technical malfunction, lost/delayed data transmission, lost/delayed/misdirected mail, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, line failure of any telephone or other network, computer equipment, software or any combination thereof, inability to access the Contest Website, for problems uploading or downloading any Contest-related materials from the Contest Website, or for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, incorrect or incomplete entry.
(g) If for any reason any aspect of this Contest cannot be completed as planned, including by reason of infection by computer virus, network failure, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any cause beyond the control of IACW which corrupts or affects the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest, IACW may in its sole discretion cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this Contest, or invalidate any affected submissions.
(h) For purposes of these Official Rules, receipt of Contest Entries occurs when posted to the FB page. Any entry information collected from the Contest may be recorded by IACW for further promotional or marketing purposes.
(i) IACW may, in its sole discretion, disqualify any submissions, and prohibit further participation in this Contest by, any person who tampers with or benefits from any tampering with the submission process or with the operation of this Contest or acts in violation of these terms and conditions, acts in a disruptive manner or acts with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS: (a) IACW reserves the right to use any method or medium that IACW deems fit at its sole and absolute discretion for the purpose of announcing and contacting the Contest winners.
(b) Upon request, Contest winners will be required to provide their contact details and photo ID proof and any other details deemed necessary and relevant by IACW at its discretion, within three working days upon receiving the request/notification from IACW
(c) IACW reserves the right to forfeit prizes for any Contest winner who does not provide the required verification upon receiving the request/notification from IACW.
PRIZES: (a) Any and all guarantees and warranties for prize is subject to the manufacturer’s terms and conditions, and winner agrees to look solely to such manufacturer for any such warranty or guarantee claim.
(b) IACW does not guarantee or make any representations or warranties regarding the quality, performance, features or capabilities/utility of the prizes offered to the winners under the contest and cannot be held responsible and liable in this connection.
(c) Prizes are non-transferable.
(d) Prizes offered on a no exchange, no refund basis.
(e) Prize recipients consent to IACW using his/her name and image in any promotional material.

Kicking off Christmas in Jerusalem

IACW_0579

This past weekend we were invited to a German Christmas Market held at a church in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was a perfect day and start to our Christmas season, both surreal and totally normal at the same time. Much like expat life.  We drank fantastic cups of steaming gluhwien while the children ate German waffles and the moms eyed the tables covered in crafts and decorations.  All the while, the seemingly unaware market was surrounded by ancient churches, mosques, and temples, stone streets older than anything in the United States, and both old and new marks of a history of tension and religious conflict.

IACW_0669

Living in Israel does have a surreal affect on you, some days you could be anywhere in the world and others you are in THE Holy Land, eek! If I am being honest, the city of Jerusalem is not my favorite place in the country. The tension you feel there is palpable and many warnings about potential unrest make me want to run to the hills surrounding the Sea of Galilee. That said, in the last month I have made the 1.5 hour trip to the holiest place on earth twice, and both times were amazing and fulfilling adventures. I’d say Jru is growing on me, especially when the Christmas spirit is all around you and you’re with some of your favorite people in the country!

IACW_0610

Since it was a rather last minute decision to attend the market, we were unprepared with only a few shekels in hand. Thus, I wasn’t able to splurge on much. However, I did come across a Palestinian artist who was on a mission for peace and unity through her art. My creative heart was inspired by her project and I purchased two sketches, one of Bethlehem and one of Jerusalem, and a painted sketch on a postcard of some of the famous architecture from around Israel.  The whole interaction with the artist made me excited for my own shop this coming weekend.

The kids were less than impressed with the vendors and were waiting patiently for Der Weihnachtsmann, aka Father Christmas, aka Santa, to arrive. They sang Jingle Bells as they waited and finally he appeared ringing a bell and carrying a large sack full of chocolate Santas for each of the children. It was adorable how they sat and listened to him tell his story in German. Even though they couldn’t understand any of it, the heart of the story was clear.

Afterward our party of almost 30 departed and 21 of us attempted to find a place to eat together at 5:00pm on Shabbat (Sabbath) in a highly religious city. Which means the majority of places were closed for another 2 hours. We finally discovered an Irish Pub and it was perfect for our group, including our horde of children hopped up on chocolate.

IACW_7507

It truly was the perfect way to kick off our December –  loosely planned, a bit chaotic, full of joy, and drenched in the Christmas spirit. When you live an expat life, at Christmas time you sacrifice a lot of your traditions, but it can lead to a richer and deeper connection to the season and your family. I hope those of you far from home find your village to celebrate with and make the most of the holiday season as you add new traditions and memories to your collection.

Happy December,

kdg

What binds your family?

fam
Photo credit: Katie

How many of us fall victim to talking AT our children instead of talking WITH our children? I do. I recognise this and certainly do my best, where I can, to carve out intentional moments for conversation with my 3 littles. But lets go a step further, what do you talk about with your kids? First thoughts may be conversations around them, their day, their school, their friends, their activities or possibly even their favourite foods.

A lovely friend of mine sent me this article on Wednesday “The Stories That Bind Us” by  which touches on just this. In this article the results of the research conducted showed that a child who knows more about their family, i.e.: the history of their mom and dad, their grandparents, their aunts, uncles and cousins etc, proved to be more resilient, more self-confidant with a better mental health and were ultimately happier.

“The answers have to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family,” – Dr. Duke.

The author encourages us to think of a family motto, I challenged my eldest with this task and this is what she came up with:

“Live kindly, love completely and protect ever after.”

I’ll take that, thank you.

Please give this quick article 10 minutes of your time today, it may encourage and inspire you as it did me. {article}

Cheers

la

No-vember vblog

As we are closing out No-vember and I’m  in the throes of preparations for an artisan fair, decorating for Christmas, and my parent’s visit, I thought I would share my thoughts via video blog. Give me grace it has been a long day, ha!

Cheers,

kdg

 

Mom’s weekend away

Just for perspective, it’s been over 8 years since I travelled anywhere alone, leaving both husband and kids at home. This weekend I took the plunge. It’s natural to feel out of my comfort zone here, but I feel it’s so incredibly necessary to create some space. You see, I have come to realize that as much as my family needs me, I need them too. This may seem obvious, but it’s more than that. I realized that as my kids emotionally depend on me, I in return have become so emotionally dependent on them. I wonder if this is magnified by our expat lifestyle, or the loss of my mom – my first immediate family circle, my safe zone, my green zone, my everything.

I described this weekend to a friend, before flying out, as a neat little present wrapped up with a bow waiting to be opened, and it has been just that.

Where did this weekend take me what am I doing you may ask? I flew to Dubai to watch Ed Sheeran live, of course. Wow! What an amazing concert. He is such an incredibly talented man.


If you ever get the chance to see him live, I’m putting it down as an absolute must!

To add the incredible show, my weekend has been filled with upgrades! Our room at the hotel was upgraded to a suite and our concert tickets upgraded to front pit! Thanksgiving moments for sure.

Yesterday, we attended the brunch at the Maridian Hotel. You buy your ticket ahead of time to secure your table and you just need to make sure you arrive on time and all dressed up. The buffet is waiting, the bar is open and the bill is already paid. Brunch was from 12-3 and then the music got louder and everyone moved outdoors poolside, and danced till 7pm, when we then fittingly went out for dinner. I wonder if this is what people who live in Dubai do on weekends.

For dinner we were recommended this gorgeous little Jamaican lounge called Miss Lily’s. We were early, it was quiet and it was gorgeous.


We escaped Miss Lily’s before the crowds and went back to the roof top of our hotel. We chatted and took in the night time views until we were ready for bed.


It’s now 9:30am and I’m still in bed. I will make my way down for breakfast soon, but right now as I write up this post and reflect on the weekend, I am just so thankful. Thankful for my friend who fetched my kids from school. Thankful for my husband who held down the fort at home and made this trip happen for me. Thankful for friends who did all the amazing weekend planning. Thankful for the blessings of upgrades. And now, most of all thankful to be going home to my beloved little family.

I hope if you are a full-time parent like me, that you take moments like this to make some space for yourself and come back refreshed and full of gratitude!

Cheers,

This thankful heart

IACW - thanksgiving2

In light of Lindy-Ann’s Christmas post last week, and my ingrained American tradition of waiting for all things Christmas until after Thanksgiving, I thought a post on thankfulness was in order. Funnily enough, my college buddy, Russ, was visiting last week and among all the lists of big topics we were processing together, gratitude was one them. We come from very different spiritual backgrounds, however we agreed that being thankful within any circumstance can truly change one’s perspective and help to live in present.

Being in the moment used to come a little easier for me. I reckon “adulting”, and definitely parenting, gets in the way, which is sad as it may be in this season when it is most critical that we bask in the moment and be thankful. Over the past few years I have attempted to join in daily thankfulness and gratitude challenges that tend to pop up this time of year.  I go strong for for the first week (if I’m lucky), but life gets busy and I forget…to be thankful. Can I get an amen?

That said, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, as I discuss thankful hearts with my boys, I start to overflow with gratitude. For the little things, like the way my youngest calls cuddles “huggles” and my oldest still calls me “Mom-Mom,” even though he is seven and a half. I am, of course, also thankful for the big things like productive days, a wonderful village of friends in our expat life, and the technology that keeps us connected to loved ones back home. I’m thankful for memories of family Thanksgivings and traditions, as we make new ones and participate in ‘friendsgivings.

IACW - thanksgiving.jpg

I have come to the conclusion that it really is heart and life changing to remain in a state of gratitude and have a thankful heart. To find the ‘silver lining’ in every situation and focus on it will help you through life’s storms peacefully, and maybe even with a smile on your face. To live life as abundantly as you can.

thanksgiving - 150dpi.jpg

Don’t worry, I won’t challenge you. Not in this post anyway. However, I would encourage you (as always) to try finding something to be thankful for. I will recommend One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp if you are seeking a way to train yourself to find the joy of your everyday life and discover the “miracle in the mundane” as Ann says.

Lastly, I am thankful for you, our readers and our community. Thankful that you allow us into your lives and let us help you grow in your creative journey. Lindy-Ann and I feel so abundantly blessed by your comments and your encouragement and hope that we can continue to inform, challenge, educate, and even make you laugh. That is what it’s all about for us: joy in the process as we grow together.

With a grateful heart –

kdg

 

The Christmas Decoration Debate!

So when exactly is it ‘PC’ to start putting up Christmas Decorations? When I was a child, my mom made us wait until December 15th before putting up the tree and then she made us wait until January 15th before taking it down. I never could quite understand this and she never quite explained it either.

1DSC_8898

Now it has become a tradition in my household to wait for the first week of December to set up the tree and decor, and pull everything down on the first weekend into the new year. Last year I managed to escape the madness slightly. You see, we went home for Christmas and I was able to convince my kids, 6yr, 4yr, 2.5yr at the time, that if we put the tree up in Kuwait, then all the presents will end up there on Christmas morning and we’ll be in SA with none, so they wonderfully agreed to only have one tree up, the one in SA, which saved me soooooooo much prepping, unpacking, cleaning and packing up.

1DSC_8830

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of the year and very special to our family, but I also enjoyed the opportunity to skip out on a little extra holiday work. Guilty!

And far be it for me to judge on what is too early or too late but I most certainly had a bit of a giggle when my sister-in-law posted that her Christmas decor was going up on November 1st. And just a week ago my friend announced that Christmas had thrown up in her house. My American friends argue that you need to get through Thanksgiving first. It really did get me thinking about when exactly is the ‘right’ time to set up and take down.

I suppose it really doesn’t matter, but there’s no denying that this is a special time of year. For Christians, Christmas is centered around the birth and life of Christ and is celebrated among loved ones. For non-Christians it’s simply a time to cherish those around you. You can feel the love in the air, and you can feel the power of that love with a tangible strength in the echoes of choirs and carols singers.

1DSC_86391DSC_8887

Many people ask me what Christmas is like in Kuwait. Well, I can tell you that yes, they do sell trees, and yes, they have some lovely decorations around. It does lack a little bit of the magic that can only come from those big Christmas afternoons with the whole extended family, but at the end of the day Christmas in any country is what YOU make it. What’s in YOUR heart will be revealed in the kind of Christmas you experience.

I will post again about Christmas in December, when our tree goes up, and about the  magical little gems I find at the stores.

1DSC_8862

But I’m curious, which of you are? The ‘wait as long as you can before putting up the tree’ like me, or the ‘is October to early to set up’, do let us know in the comments below.

Happy to kick off the Holiday posts 🙂

la

 

Side Note: Keeping with the American line, Katie’s tradition is to start Christmas songs the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday) and decorate that Saturday – So we know where she stands. HoHoHo!

 

 

A few pixels at time

IACW - process.jpg

Have you ever been through a time in your life when you were being consistently challenged to pursue things you were not confident you would be able to make happen? Fake it ’til you make it right? Well, this is the season I’m walking in write now. Things are changing, big things are coming, I can feel it. Lindy-Ann and I have seen so much growth in each other and our community over the past year (shout out to all our awesome photogs who are making their dreams happen!) and there is more to come…seriously I can feel it in my bones!

Truth be told, it’s exciting, overwhelming, and a little scary all at the same time.

It’s stretching me that’s for sure, and I am still processing it, mostly verbally in true Katie style. (Thank you for listening family and friends!!)

It’s that moment when you are doing what you are supposed to do and it’s good, maybe even really good, but there is an ache for something else. Hear me here, I am not saying it’s “a grass is always greener” scenario, but it is the need to do more. The tug on your heart that says, “keep moving forward, grow, evolve.”

We have all heard the sayings that “life’s a journey” and “it’s all about the process,” IT’S TRUE!  If we are not growing and stretching ourselves we are not meeting our full potential. Especially as a creatives, staying stagnant leads to feeling uninspired, and feeling uninspired leads to bitterness as the flow of creativity dries up. Believe me, we have been here too.

What to do?

There is no right or wrong answer to understanding your journey and calling, it’s different for everyone. That said, here is what has been helped me this season.

  1. Pray about it.
  2. Write it out (aka blog about it!)
  3. Talk about it with trusted confidants and mentors.
  4. Process it, chew on it, and then do it all over again.
  5. Really be thankful for where you are in your journey – maybe write that out too…
  6. In the midst of all that the most crucial action (because I am a ‘do-er’) is to keep moving forward. Take the next step as it presents itself and cross off the ‘to-do’ list one item at a time.

IAWC - pixels.jpg

There is a reason we do not see the whole picture. If we did we would be paralyzed and  overwhelmed with how we make it happen rather than enjoying the process. The process is what stretches and grows us to get us to that point. Instead we have this small portion in front of us, just a few pixels of the high res photograph of our life, and we work with that. When we look back in a few months we will see what/how it all happened, what we learned about ourselves through it all, and enjoy the beautiful picture of our lives unfolding in front of us.

IACW - foot

I want to encourage you today, whatever season you are in, breathe in the process. Whether you just came out of the growing season and are confidently walking in that or being stretched, it is good. Be thankful. Share your story with others and celebrate theirs. That is another great way to not get overwhelmed. Change your focus, take a minute to encourage another or be their sounding board, it may even inspire you!

This is me: sharing, breathing, encouraging, being thankful, and growing…what a grand adventure right?!

cheering you on!

kdg

 

 

The Mirror House – Kuwait

1DSC_9140Lets just say, if my husband came home from a business trip abroad and found me on the floor with broken pieces of glass and plastering all over the wall, I think he would have had me committed. Thankfully this was not in the case of the lovely Lady Lidia.

1DSC_9121

For what started out as a small mirror mosaic project to cover her daughters writings on the wall, turned into her greatest life long work, her pride and joy, The Mirror House of Kuwait. We were greeted by this tiny, Italian woman, with years of life knowledge and life experience under her belt. Yet somehow she maintained her zest and passion for life and she couldn’t wait to share it with us.

We started with a lesson on mosaics and the story of her beginning, but we were quickly whisked away and literally taken on a once in a lifetime journey through what can only really be explained as living surrealism. 

She met a young Kuwaiti man in the UK and he stole her heart. She then moved to Kuwait in the 50s, settled down, got married, had a family, lived life, survived wars, survived parenting, and found comfort in creating.

1DSC_91461DSC_9149

Her story is a cherished love story. Her husband, Khalifa Qattan, was a very well known and respected pioneer in the Arab art world.  Yet, he very rarely called her Lidia, he preferred to call her lady, even up until his last days on this earth. Swoon! She brags that when she arrived in Kuwait, most of the houses were still built of clay. Yes, she has seen Kuwait change over the years there is no doubt of this. I asked her what the biggest change she witnessed was, expecting to hear the standard, “oh we used to be able to drink and now we can’t” or, “we could wear short skirts back then and no one bothered us about it” but no, to my surprise, she said the greatest change came from within the family unit.

The family unit has changed.

When she first moved to Kuwait she testifies how most children were being raised by their parents, both moms and dads were raising their kids. She shares that in today’s times children are being raised by nannies. It’s quantity over quality of children that has become important. There is a whole generation of children being raised by nannies and no longer by their parents. And you see it filter over into the Western culture within Kuwait too. All too often it’s the nannies with the kids at birthday parties or afternoon activities, very often alongside the parents, even then parents take more and more of a back seat.

1DSC_9159
Her symbol piece for the family unit.

Anyway, getting back to the tour. What a ride. She took us into every room where different themes are represented, from the earth to outer space. Her birds were my personal favourites. On the top floor we even got to appreciate her husbands works. a dedicated gallery to his finest pieces. I loved this part. He was a visual communicator for sure. The statements he made with his art were honest, bold and unapologetic. He loved being Kuwaiti and was so proud of that, but he was despising what the nation was becoming, the changes that the country was going through and he used his art as his voice. It still speaks volumes today. I definitely learnt a lot about the history of Kuwait on this tour, It was interesting for sure.

In the rooms next to his gallery are works of her own. It was fascinating to see these two worlds showcased on one floor. Two very different minds with similar view points being expressed in two very different ways. It was remarkable.

My favourite piece belonging to Lady Lidia was the piece with the two keys. These represent the keys to a woman’s heart (men, pay attention).

They are:

1 – Respect

2 – Generosity (not as in things or money, but rather time and affection). If you get these two things right her heart will be forever yours.

Her art therapy rooms are quite something, too. Darkness, with colour of lights and lights of colour.

Admittedly, I spent an hour on my bed in the afternoon with a warm cup of tea processing the experience. Trying to make sense of it all. I couldn’t. I was most certainly over stimulated for the better part of the afternoon. And wonderfully so. I will never forget this morning at The House of Mirrors. For anyone living in Kuwait, you need to move this to the top of your ‘to do before you leave’ list. This experience has the backing of both Trip Adviser and Lonely Planet.

I left informed and inspired.

If you have a House of Mirrors experience that you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you.

Special note: One thing that makes this experience even more unique is that you become a part of the visual experience. With the mosaics being mirrors, your reflections are integrated. Thus making everyone’s experience unique to them. 

1DSC_9162

Cheers,

la

 

PS Tutorial: Stamping away the crowd

IACW  - DeLong Family - 9292.jpg

The past couple weeks I have been post processing the images from my Fall Mini Sessions. Unlike all the amazing autumnal sessions I’m drooling over from back home, my sessions were seaside, and the Mediterranean did not disappoint! My seven families, all sporting a variety of blues, were perfect against the teals and turquoise tones of the sea, and the morning light was glorious. Each session even had it’s own special moments and poses unique to each family, which kept it fun and fresh. Overall, it was a dream day, with the exception of all the other beach goers.

Not only did we have several walkers, joggers, curious by standers, and sand castle builders to compete with, we also had the absolutely unnecessary older gentleman in a speedo…seriously?! This actually led to a few good smiles and laughs from my clients, but we do not want those in the shot, am I right?!

IACW - blue speedo

This is a quick tutorial on how I utilize the clone stamp tool in Photoshop to get rid any background noise that takes away from my subjects, including people and litter.

I hope it comes in handy for you and that you don’t have to deal with an old Israeli in a electric blue speedo any time soon!

Cheers,

kdg