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You’re getting married!!! Thanks coursework writers for dropping by the blog. We are a boutique wedding photography company with a singular focus: letting your true colours shine through. If our work jives with you, give us a call! A handful monroe’s motivated sequence topics of summer / fall openings are still open for 2014.

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A Question of Reassurance Open this post

May 26
2009

Posted in: Family, Personal 5 comments
Author: admin Tags:

A Question of Reassurance

Hello.  It’s getting late and I’m tired, but alas things are on my mind.
It stands to reason that we live in a crazy technological era of “heart-on-sleeve”/”show-the-world-what-you-have” environment.  Call it narcissism, call it practicality, call it convenience.  Either way, for those of us involved in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and you-name-it; we run the risk that [...]

Hello.  It’s getting late and I’m tired, but alas things are on my mind.

It stands to reason that we live in a crazy technological era of “heart-on-sleeve”/”show-the-world-what-you-have” environment.  Call it narcissism, call it practicality, call it convenience.  Either way, for those of us involved in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and you-name-it; we run the risk that when we put something out there, it has an effect; and that “effect” has an effect.  

One such effect of sharing with the world the state of Alvi’s health situation was an immediate outpouring of empathy, kindness and cheerleading.  For practical reasons in and of themselves, we chose to communicate often via these myriad technologies as we do have family all over the world.  A sister in Ireland.  A brother in Honduras.  Another sister in the Middle East.  Quite honestly Facebooking and this blog itself have allowed us to give detailed updates as to how Alvi was progressing, thereby eliminating considerable anxiety and concern with loved ones.  

But every upside has its downs.  In choosing to be less private about about real life, we expose ourselves to the inevitable outcome of concerned clients.  And this bothers us because as brides, we know you have enough on your plate without worrying about whether or not your photographer/cinematographer will have an issue being present on your Big Day. 

So, let me be quite clear about this.  If you are a bride or groom and have booked with Bliss, please do not be concerned about whether or not Alvi will be capable of fulfilling his contractual obligations to you as a client.  The answer is he will be a NEW MAN.  

Recovery from any surgery is about 3-4 weeks and given the scope of what he had done, we can expect a full recovery very soon.  Please hang in there.  Do not despair.  All will be well.

In the meantime, thank you for your thoughts, prayers and kind words posted online, sent over the phone and uttered in person.  We are blessed to have your support. 

ps: SUPER FUNNY.  Alvi’s best friend Collin showed up today in the hospital with a pack of soda water <his favourite carbonated bevvy> and a ball cap.  Wanna know what the ball cap read?  Nikon.  That man has quite the sense of humour.  <Alvi shoots with Canon and exclusively with Canon.  You could say he is a Canon snob>.

Collie: Alvis knows Nikon rules and the ball cap looks way more chick than the old Volvo Yacht race cap he's been greasing up for the past two decades! Hang in there through the slow recovery stage with patience Alvi. 05.31.2009

Jason: I hope that everything is well. It is disturbing to read such a posting considering how young the two of you are, and the two beautiful children you have which gives everyone the will to live. I hope you take this time to take a step back and realize the little things in life that make us smile and enjoy every minute to the fullest. To the clients who are unsure, be reassured that with a new heart comes a new love for what we do and Alvis is someone whom loves what he does. Just take it easy for awhile and enjoy the new lease on life. Cheers mate 06.01.2009

Franklin: .... thanks.... 07.27.2014

Gabriel: .... good info!... 11.18.2014

Darrell: .... ñïñ!!... 11.19.2014

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In Sickness & In Health: Alvis Plavins Version 2.0 Open this post

May 24
2009

Posted in: Family, Personal 6 comments
Author: admin Tags:

In Sickness & In Health: Alvis Plavins Version 2.0

Warning: this post is highly personal.  It is also a bit graphic.  We are telling our story mainly for family and friends who have been concerned.  If you are a client or a lurker, feel free to skip ahead to sunnier, more relevent posts.  But if you are so inclined, you might decide to take [...]

Warning: this post is highly personal.  It is also a bit graphic.  We are telling our story mainly for family and friends who have been concerned.  If you are a client or a lurker, feel free to skip ahead to sunnier, more relevent posts.  But if you are so inclined, you might decide to take the bait and read this dissertation, thereby gaining some valuable insight from the lessons we have learned over the last few weeks.

Hi there.  If you are a regular visitor you may have been wondering where we’ve been for the past few weeks. While it would be lovely to say we were off on location shooting the wedding of our dreams; the reality is we are at the Ottawa Heart Institute where Alvi is getting a new heart in quite the literal sense.

Initially we were hesitant to post anything related to our current situation — waffling between his desire to “keep it quiet” and my desire to be transparent — but tonight we decided to tell our story because perhaps one day it could be you and we’d like to share some vital perspective we’ve gained about life. 

Planning a wedding is no easy task, but when that blissful day arrives it can be the stuff that dreams are made of.  There is so much emphasis on the dress, the flowers, the reception venue, the food, the wine, the band… And yes, of course we do take the time to reflect on vows and the sanctity of the commitment being made.  But, it’s possible we can take for granted that those promises can and may be put to the test… perhaps sooner than we would ever imagine.  

Who knew that “in sickness and in health” would crop up just seven years into our marriage.

Alvi was born with a congenital heart defect whereby his aortic valve had two of its three leaflets fused together.  This bicuspid valve lead to a condition called severe aortic stenosis where, over time, the valve narrowed and calcified.  And because  the aortic valve works like a one-way gate to ensure that oxygen-rich blood is supplied to the body, if it becomes too narrow then the heart will fail.    

In our eleven years of togetherness I was always aware of his heart “issue” but I will confess to never really grasping the severity of it.  I knew it wasn’t so Mickey Mouse that it shouldn’t be taken seriously as we were never able to get him any life insurance.  And yet he just did not exude any sort of “I’m sick” vibe. On the contrary he was always up to something and seemingly keeping up with the rest of us.

And when you live with someone time can erode your sense of judgement…what is actually happening gradually becomes imperceptible when you spend every waking hour with a person.  Because the fact is over the last few years Alvi’s health has been going down hill and the only one who really noticed was him.  How terrible is that?

Now we always knew that one day he might need his valve full-on replaced; but both of us figured that would be something to look forward to at the ripe old age of 60-70.  Not 41.

So rewind to a few weeks ago when something must have shifted in his thinking.  A simple conversation at the gas pump lead to an intense and yet vulnerable moment when he finally spoke the words that had been churning around in his noggin for quite some time: “Sam, I am really not feeling right.”

Well that was all I needed to hear.  The phone call was made and what shocked me at the other end was the nurse who spoke the words I will never forget; “We have been just waiting for the call.  His numbers are not good.  We’ll get him in right away.”

A flood of emotions went through me; part overwhelm <for not realizing just how bad things were>; part compassion <for thinking he must have really been conflicted and scared to have kept all this inside>; to part shame <for wishing I had accompanied him to every single heart appointment so that I would have had an inkling as to his situation>.  

But I digress.  Ten days later we were on a plane and surgery was scheduled.  The days leading up to the event have been fraught with stress, anxiety and fear.  This was major open heart surgery.  They saw open the breastbone to give access to the heart; which they then stop, cool down and begin to work on.  The body is kept alive via the heart/lung machine and when all is said and done, the whole thing takes about 5 hours.  In the end the aortic valve <or what’s left of it> is completely replaced by a mechanical one.  Given his young age we chose to go with this option as opposed to the tissue valve <from a pig> as he would likely wear it out within 10 years.  The mechanical valve is designed to outlast all of us though it is not without its warts.    

Our biggest fear was something going wrong; the obvious risks one faces when on the table for surgery like this.  It stood to reason that he was alive and kicking now and did not appear to be dying or anything… how would we <I> feel should something go awry?  Indeed there were many tears shed in the few days before he went under the knife.  Discussions I never envisioned us having that needed to be had; not because we are pessimistic people; more because when you face your own mortality and you have children, there are practical things that require discussion. 

And although I just knew in my heart things would turn out ok, there is always the “what if.” The 5.5 hour wait with my mom while he was under was nearly interminable.  I realized at that moment several things: (1) I take Alvi for granted; (2) he is the best thing to have ever happened to me and (3) this was an incredible opportunity for a new start.

Seeing Dr. Maharajh emerge with the smile on his face was all I needed.  Immediate hugs were distributed to this great man who fixed my husband and then we were ushered off to a private room.  What happened next leaves me nearly speechless <and if you know me, I am hardly one to have a lack of words for anything>.  When they opened him up expecting to find his “bicuspid” valve what greeted them instead was a valve with just one leaflet.  Just one.  A small, tiny thread that had been overworked and gutted to the max trying to keep his large frame alive for the past however many years.  In his words, “this surgery has probably saved your husband’s life.  He would not have lasted the year and it would have ended badly.”  

Oh my word.  This was a shocking and critical moment for me.  To think what might have happened. These thoughts were never far from my head and heart as we were eventually lead into ICU to see the man I now call “the champ” <also affectionately dubbed “The Valvinator”>; full of tubes and completely out of it but able to squeeze my hand and utter the words “sore”.  

So enough of the misery.  What have we learned?  Well, I think it’s safe to say our marriage is as solid as a rock following the very real prospect of the alternative.  It has brought us closer together.  It has made us realize that our health is precious and we cannot take it for granted.  That we have to take care of each other and ourselves, body, mind and spirit.  

We have learned that in the face of something serious all the nagging little things we quetch about on a daily basis really just vanish away.  They are inconsequential.  Nothing matters except life itself.  It is a gift that we all should cherish and respect.  

And although we are by no means out of the woods <good Lord he only just woke up 24 hours ago> the worst is behind us and things can only go up from here.  Alvi’s recovery will be slow and steady and he’ll have a small army of loved ones getting him through the rough patches.

But wanna know what’s really cool?  For years his heart has always sounded like a sluggish “slosh slosh” when my head went to his chest at night.  And now, as I lean close I can hear a definite, regular, metric tick-tick-ticking which is the heavenly sound of his new valve working.  It is the sweetest sound I have ever heard.

In a few days we will post something more uplifting and introduce you to the new Alvi; Version 2.0!

If you do happen to be a client and you are wondering when you might be hearing from us; please know that you are on the list and that for now, just for the next few weeks, we’ll be focussing on getting him better.    

Maggie: Glad to hear. I knew he would be fine! I have been thinking about the two of you every day. Maggie 05.25.2009

Samantha: Maggie, thanks for your kind words. He is on the mend and destined to be the thorn in my side for the rest of his long life!!! LOL. Hope to be home next week. 05.26.2009

Sue & Gerry Gammond: Thinking about all of you, especially as Alvis recovers from surgery. Please know you are loved. When you feel like it, come for a wee visit at Gammondale with Piper and Saffron. 05.26.2009

admin: Thanks Sue & Gerry. You are so kind. We are your biggest fans and will be out there the second the smoke clears! Thank you again for lending us your beautiful barn and for all the prayers. 05.26.2009

Michelle & Jordan: I happened to be doing a little snooping after recieving the package at my doorstep (thanks!!) We are wishing Alvis and you a very speedy recovery. I'm sure he'll be out soaking up the sun with his girls in no time! 05.27.2009

christian: .... thanks for information!... 07.29.2014

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Matt + Natalie // Version 1.0 Open this post

May 14
2009

Posted in: Weddings 2 comments
Author: admin Tags:

Matt + Natalie // Version 1.0

We had so much fun photographing the Little Family the other day {Natalie, Matt, Cole, Caleb and Tito…the dog!} that we neglected to mention in our blogpost how we met this awesome couple. Through a bittersweet series of circumstances Matt and Natalie landed on our doorstep for wedding photography back in November, 2008. [...]

early_wedding_blog-67We had so much fun photographing the Little Family the other day {Natalie, Matt, Cole, Caleb and Tito…the dog!} that we neglected to mention in our blogpost how we met this awesome couple. Through a bittersweet series of circumstances Matt and Natalie landed on our doorstep for wedding photography back in November, 2008. We were honoured to capture them in all their splendour. 

Theirs was a blustery cold wedding day, November 22nd, to be precise.  But in spite of the windchill, my own frozen fingers and poor Matt’s headcold, the day turned out beautifully.  I’m sure anyone viewing this post will agree Natalie was a stunning bride <kind of reminded me of a Grace Kelly image I once saw>.

Nat & Matt, thanks for entrusting us after all that you went through to get to Bliss.

More pics will follow in the coming day.
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‘Mattalie’  {Natalie, Matt, Cole, Caleb + Tito the dog Open this post

May 12
2009

Posted in: Portraiture 1 comment
Author: admin Tags:

‘Mattalie’ {Natalie, Matt, Cole, Caleb + Tito the dog

You would think that two active little boys, one 5-month old Brindle Boxer and a wide, open farm would result in pandemonium (or at the very least a significant amount of running!); au contraire.  Yesterday’s shoot with the Little family at Gammondale Farm was a great success; resulting in some very sweet, realistic proofs that [...]

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small_mattalie-3158-2You would think that two active little boys, one 5-month old Brindle Boxer and a wide, open farm would result in pandemonium (or at the very least a significant amount of running!); au contraire.  Yesterday’s shoot with the Little family at Gammondale Farm was a great success; resulting in some very sweet, realistic proofs that illuminate their special family dynamic.

Cole and Caleb found themselves horsing around <groan.  could not resist that one.> in the barn while Tito <named for UFC fighter Tito Ortis> did his best to sit pretty while the camera clicked away.  All things considered, for a puppy this was one well-behaved animal!

Here are just a few of their shots as a wee teaser.  Enjoy!

{ Extra special thanks to Sue at Gammondale for the privilege of using her beautiful grounds and barn as a backdrop, and for taking the time to show the animals to the kids.  If you’ve never been to Gammondale you are missing out on one of Thunder Bay’s truly iconic rural settings.  Heaps of fun for the family all season  long. }

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Last Chance for ‘Spring Bling’ Promo Open this post

May 08
2009

Posted in: Weddings 5 comments
Author: admin Tags:

Last Chance for ‘Spring Bling’ Promo

All good things must come to an end… and so too will our Spring Bling Booking Promo.  This promotion was first offered at the Thunder Bay Spring Wedding Show and it’s about to expire.  If you are on the fence — at all — be advised that our White Fox Overnight/Breakfast package <complimentary for booking [...]

All good things must come to an end… and so too will our Spring Bling Booking Promo.  This promotion was first offered at the Thunder Bay Spring Wedding Show and it’s about to expire.  If you are on the fence — at all — be advised that our White Fox Overnight/Breakfast package <complimentary for booking with Bliss prior to June 21, 2009> will soon disappear.

The deadline for this promo is Monday, May 11th.  In case you missed it, here are the details one more time!

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kenny: .... good.... 07.27.2014

Hubert: .... áëàãîäàðþ.... 11.18.2014

Wade: .... tnx!... 11.18.2014

Lee: .... ñýíêñ çà èíôó.... 11.19.2014

Neil: .... ñïàñèáî!!... 11.20.2014

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It Gets Blurry {our life} Open this post

May 07
2009

Posted in: Personal 4 comments
Author: admin Tags:

It Gets Blurry {our life}

 
Dishes.  Dust bunnies.  Teething.  Procrastinating 5 year-olds <”Mommy I can’t sleep because I have a growing pain”; “Uh-huh… same one you’ve had for the last four months, dear?”>. Paper piling up.  Clutter.  Laundry…oh the laundry <bergs and bergs>.  
 I know, wah wah, woe is me.  But I’m needing an outlet to vent; so here goes!
Do [...]

 

Taken from the iPhone while life zooms by in my car.

Taken from the iPhone while life zooms by in my car.

Dishes.  Dust bunnies.  Teething.  Procrastinating 5 year-olds <”Mommy I can’t sleep because I have a growing pain”; “Uh-huh… same one you’ve had for the last four months, dear?”>. Paper piling up.  Clutter.  Laundry…oh the laundry <bergs and bergs>.  

 I know, wah wah, woe is me.  But I’m needing an outlet to vent; so here goes!

Do you wonder if you will ever get “caught up?”  And by caught up, I mean completely and blissfully free of any of life’s TO DOs. I find I spend an inordinate amount of time running in 50 different directions just trying to keep up, chasing the pursuit of the proverbial empty ‘in-box’; and in the meanwhile, life is going by.  

But don’t get me wrong, I am slowly learning.  A wise, old friend once told me that when the kids are grown they will not look back and savour fond memories of their mom constantly tidying and shoveling out the clutter; what they will remember and cherish is the time that was spent with them.

So tonight I shelved all of the items on my TO DO list.  I rolled around on the ground with Saffron.  I played tag with Piper.  I just chilled.  Those kids are everything to me and maybe with practice I will learn to let go of the things that just aren’t that significant in the grand scheme.

And let us contemplate for a second; what’s one more pile of unfolded laundry?  Really, unnoticeable when the mountain is already staggering.

Tom: .... tnx for info!!... 07.31.2014

jack: .... ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!... 11.18.2014

gabriel: .... ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!... 11.19.2014

wesley: .... tnx for info!!... 11.20.2014

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A Diva Does her ‘Thang’ // Allison’s Photo Shoot Open this post

May 06
2009

Posted in: Musician Shots 6 comments
Author: admin Tags:

A Diva Does her ‘Thang’ // Allison’s Photo Shoot

When long-time friend Allison Colosimo asked us if we’d take some promo shots for her new website, we didn’t even bat an eye.  Allison has just about the best personality; is it possible for a personality itself to be photogenic?  We’re thinkin’ yeah… must be.
Of paramount importance was capturing the essence of Allison: her wacky-yet-serious, [...]

When long-time friend Allison Colosimo asked us if we’d take some promo shots for her new website, we didn’t even bat an eye.  Allison has just about the best personality; is it possible for a personality itself to be photogenic?  We’re thinkin’ yeah… must be.

Of paramount importance was capturing the essence of Allison: her wacky-yet-serious, sophisticated-yet-informal presence.  Done deal.  Of course thanks to her well-known music connections in the city <among them, her own!> we were granted access to the stage at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium; a perfect backdrop for an opera diva like Allison.  Although not all shots are *crisp*, we were going for an aura that was both vintage yet edgy at the same time <I know, there’s a paradox for you>.  The shoot was not complete without a stop to celebrated local music store: Colosimo’s.  We’re thinking she must know somebody in there <lol>.  Thanks for letting us have such a blast with you, Allibaba!  Here’s a smattering from the day…

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CynthiaK: Ahhhhhh!!! They totally capture the essence of our darling Allison. Bloody awesome! 05.07.2009

Tania Livitski: Awesome pictures...almost speechless...my best friend never looked so good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awesome photography!!!!!!!!!! Can't wait to see the web site. 05.07.2009

Michaela Huras: Allison - the beautiful and gifted; the original 'funny girl' ... it is time to share you with the world ... don't forget your choir friends in Oakville !! 05.12.2009

Clinton: .... thank you!!... 07.30.2014

ted: .... ñýíêñ çà èíôó!... 11.18.2014

Lonnie: .... ñïñ!!... 11.19.2014

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Kim + Matt = TRUE LOVE {Engagement Shoot} Open this post

May 04
2009

Posted in: Engagement 9 comments
Author: admin Tags:

Kim + Matt = TRUE LOVE {Engagement Shoot}

Does life get any better than two people in love?  Yes, it does.  How about two enthusiastically-in love, outgoing people ready to bring their game to an engagement shoot?  Oh, and did we mention how perfect the weather was?  Thank you, Mother Nature. You are redeeming yourself <slowly>.
Kim and Matt met through friends and share [...]

Does life get any better than two people in love?  Yes, it does.  How about two enthusiastically-in love, outgoing people ready to bring their game to an engagement shoot?  Oh, and did we mention how perfect the weather was?  Thank you, Mother Nature. You are redeeming yourself <slowly>.

Kim and Matt met through friends and share a passion for the outdoors, fishing, boating at their camp and general all-round goofing off together. We were as eager to take their engagement photos as they were to shoot them.  And what good sports they were; we pretty much dragged them all over creation.  Although the light was not perfect at the onset <far too bright>, the later shots turned out great.  It was extremely difficult to not go crazy posting.  We can’t wait to see what your September wedding day will bring.  Enjoy your sneak preview, Kim and Matt!

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CynthiaK: Gorgeous. Where were those taken? 05.04.2009

admin: Thanks, Cynth! All over, really. Down at the bridge off Arundel near Boulevard; the old YMCA building they are tearing down and the burned-down old bank building on Victoria. Would love to shoot your family sometime. 05.05.2009

tash: love the one with the wall between them!!! pretty symbolic...after the wedding...you need one with them both on the other side!!! in wedding gear!!! 05.05.2009

Matt: The pictures are absolutely fantastic. Kim and I couldn't be any happier. I think I may have to switch jobs though. Modeling is easy! 05.05.2009

Earla: Kim and Matt, The photos are wonderful ... all the very best on your special day ... You know the saying first comes love, then comes marriage then comes Matt and Kim pushing a baby carriage .. no pressure ha-ha Love and laughter Earla 07.20.2009

Antonio: .... tnx for info.... 07.27.2014

Lewis: .... ñïàñèáî!... 11.19.2014

gordon: .... ñïàñèáî çà èíôó.... 11.19.2014

Casey: .... good.... 11.20.2014

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