A little chat about WAKING UP: Why I've recently been a real Grinch, in both good ways and bad.
10:34 PM

This is going to be a rambler, I can feel it.

New Sara Barielles playing in the background, the dog is asleep, nothing is in my way, so I'm gonna ramble. Hold onto your knickers.

I need to talk about waking up.

Quick story for you, before things get too profound. I don't know about you, but I'm not a morning person. I'm not a bright, bubbly, "Oh the birds are singing!" kind of a person. I'm a "shoot the birds and close the blinds, I'll see you next week" if you're lucky enough to get more out of me than a muffled groan in protest. I have to, have to set an alarm. Two alarms. Three alarms. It's alarming how many alarms I actually set (har har). These are alarms on my phone, and I usually leave my phone far away from my bed to ensure my zombie self gets up and at'em to turn them off, hopefully and optimistically assuming that at some point in my journey I will WAKE UP. This... doesn't always happen. I'll bolt out of bed at the most undecent hour, turn off the alarm (snooze), and crash back into bed. Cue: the dance of the thousand snooze buttons.

Now. The sleeping wonder that (unfortunately) shares the bed with me does not appreciate this morning routine. I want to say that I've gotten better lately, but he'll protest otherwise I'm sure. It's as though I don't have any conscious thoughts about actually staying awake after getting out of bed; I autopilot back under the sheets and have no conscious choice but to obey my body. It's ridiculous. It's not normal. Is it? Let a sister know.

The connection for this morning-glory story to the aformentioned profoundness is that... in recent weeks...

I've woken up.

This... is profound. I've woken up... creatively, business-wise, idea-wise, ambition-wise; I've woken up wanting to push again. Push? At what? Oh, that little thing that I forgot I love to do. That, my friends, is as sincere as I can get with a snoring dog drooling on my toes: I FORGOT I loved photography. Totally forgot that the subtle focus of rain drops on kittens (wait, what?) and toothy, gleeful grins that get my heart racing and eyes shining. I love what I do. And I do it, because I love it.

So where have I been before this revelation of epic proportions? Drowning in self-pity, in my negative levels of self-assuredness, drowning in the complete disbelief in myself and my talent. I decided that because I'm not making a million dollars and taking photographs of Miley Cyrus twerking, I'm not worth a single penny of anyone's thoughts or business. This is just insane thinking, folks (much like the a fore-mentioned performance of the fallen Disney star). Insane.

If you can't believe in yourself, WHO CAN?!

I can assure you: caps were needed in that last sentence.

So lets flash forward: how did I wake up? It was a normal day, totally unexpected; out of nowhere, my heart filled with something other than self-hate. I suddenly went OH. Weddings. Love. Light. Love. Photography... love? Love.

A friend has been diligently tweeting and posting over at her wedding planning blog, and I had read a tweet or two that morning. My head got thinking, my heart got beating, and I made a plan to get off the train and buy a wedding magazine. I had a wedding to shoot in the next week or so at this point, so I figured, inspiration is needed anyways. Magazines: expensive! But am I really prepared to say that my inspiration, my love and pride in myself, isn't really worth $6? If there were any moment in which to spend some cash, this was it. I bought my shiny, beautifully-bound WeddingBells and hugged it like a bomb that would explode if I let go.

As I skimmed slowly through those slick pages, my heart opened up again. I kid you not, it's as though I had closed a door inside me somewhere, locked it up, and hung up a sign that said "Given up; try again later". Down goes the sign, and I'm off running through pages and pages of glossy, gorgeous inspiration. It was a real Grinch moment: heart growing so big, it was bound to burst out in a rowdy rendition of Here Comes The Sun.

And that was it.

I went home and blogged (hence the sudden re-appearance, I'm sure you noticed that). I blogged and I edited and I planned. I emailed clients that I hadn't scheduled yet. I emailed old friends and made plans. I organized. I fantasized. I woke up.

I shot the wedding that I had been nervous about, and it was amazing. So inspirational and wonderful. I've since had several shoots, and two more coming up this weekend. I've got new projects planned. I've got ideas. I've got aspirations. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I am closer now with my heart open and my eyes focused. I don't know what made me suddenly snap that morning (the wedding tweets, a bad batch of coffee? Who's to say, really.) but I am so thankful for my change of heart. This, I feel, is what I'm meant to do. One way or another... I will inspire others, and continue to amaze myself with the possibilities ahead of me.

Profound, right? I told you so.

NOW: The homework.
I normally don't care about this side of the blogging business, but I would love love love if you would leave a comment about a struggle you've had lately. About a great morning of triumph over your bad thoughts. A quip about some bad coffee. Don't care; comment. It would mean the world to my tiny brain and over-sized heart that is now full of love, love, love.

Savannah & Joel, 2013
8:09 PM

Savannah is one of those people that come into your life and you take note. Incredibly smart, talented and kindhearted, Savannah picked me to be the one to capture her wedding day; how could I not accept? Joel is a match and a half for Savannah, and they had the most beautifully put together celebration I've ever seen.

Beyond all that, Savannah took the time to write a glowing review for me, and while I cannot read through it again without tearing up, I thought I'd share her kind words that almost speak more to her character than mine.

"After a not so great experience with our engagement photos, we decided to contact Hilary for our wedding photos. Everyone we spoke to had amazing things to say not only about Hilary but also the quality of her work. From our first meeting together, Hilary made us feel at ease ensuring she would capture every moment of our special day. Sometimes, I thought she was more excited about my wedding than I was. Hilary exceeded our expectations throughout the day capturing over 800 individual memories that we will be able to cherish and look back on. She was always quick to return phone calls/emails/texts, always showed up on time, and was consistently professional throughout the planning process and on our wedding day. We had such a great experience with Hilary Spencer Creative Photography we can’t wait to do our “Trash the Dress” photo shoot with her. Hilary – thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for doing such a wonderful job capturing a new chapter in our lives together."

I cannot say more to the amazing person that Savannah is, and the happiness that her and Joel have together and always.

 ...and yes, you read that correctly; my very first Trash the Dress will be one for the books!

The Details
Makeup: Orly Kahn-Waldman
Reception Venue: Deer Creek Banquet Hall & Golf Course
Video: Shyah Yan Zarrabi

'been a while.
10:27 PM

It has been a while. I am alive and kicking, and have been somewhat living life away from the lure of the computer screen. Remember when life's events happened and you... didn't blog about them? Or post on Facebook about them? Or tweet about them? You just... enjoyed them, let them sink into your system and wash over you in the wonder that is a good darn time? Yeah. There's been a lot of that, lately.

But I'm back, wanting more. I miss my online presence (whether anyone notices it or not) and I need a kick in the pants to get back into the swing of being "media-social".

The Art of Getting Started is something I stumbled upon tonight, and it's wonderfully fitting for where I am floating right now. I haven't really pinpointed what it is that I'm 'starting', per say... more so just the feeling of starting something has got me inspired to push forward. The Art of Getting Started (or #taogs) posts assignments "regularly", and while I don't particularly want to submit them, I might as well post them on here for proof that I'm actually a functioning individual who isn't fooling anyone.

First assignment? Bucket list.

I've done bucket lists before. We've always got the usual suspects... Paris. Ride a motorcycle. New York (did it!). Meet someone famous and not drool on their shoes. But really, I want this one to be way less consumer/location driven, and more... satisfyingly honest, and soul-discovery-enriching than anything else.


  • Paris.
 Ok, I can't not include that, because really, it's on the list. Whether I like it or not.

  • Make peace with my body
This is a doozy, which should have been down at the bottom. I've been mentally working on this one for quite some time. I don't know that there is even a finish line where I'll be completely and 100% comfortable in my own skin, but I need to surrender to the fact that I am as perfect as I can be as long as I am healthy and happy. Size, colour, it doesn't matter, because what I feel is going to determine how my day goes rather than how I look. Mantras help, and I'm hoping to really gain some ground on this one.

  • Help someone
Vague... mysterious... But I feel as though I have a calling to do something intrinsically good for someone or some cause. I feel as though my skills can be put to use for the bettering of someone else. I'm not sure how or where this will manifest, but I am bound and bent that I will get there.

  • Live selfishly, if only for a day
 Very opposite to the previous item, but I tend to find myself thinking for the benefit of others rather than the benefit of myself, or with myself in mind, when I really should be. My future should be for my well being, and with my interests in mind, not to complete anyone else's timeline or idea of what is the "correct path". I've got a lot of work to do on where I want to be in life; 5 years, 10 years, 20 years... but I need to map it out with myself in mind.

  • Run a 5k race (and then a 10k)
I've recently discovered running. Jogging, really. And it zens me out better than any other activity I've ever done (aside from swimming laps, which apparently transports my brain into a bowl of jello-y bliss). Something about the ins and outs of my breaths, the rhythmic pounding of my feet on the pavement, and how absolutely unbiased that pavement can be; the pavement can take your weight, your secrets, your trouble and your drama in stride. The pavement don't care what you're wearing, or what you've eaten that day. The pavement really only cares that you are moving forward, covering more and more of it at a time; will take nothing from you but pounding footsteps and give nothing but warm limbs and a strong pulse. There is something poetic about running, and I'm excited to see where it takes me.

  •  Tour a vineyard
Big fan of wine, big fan of grapes, and a big fan of warm, Tuscan-like adventures through artisan's homesteads with no real agenda.

  • Own or rent a cottage
This is a long-term fellow, but at some point in my life, I need to have my toes in a lake with my loves by my side. Rio needs to be in water, and I need to be on a dock at sunrise. These things are just going to have to happen.

  • Write a book
Another long-termer. I have always been a writer, whether I'm practicing or not. I have spoken this aloud to a friend or two: I will have written a book at some point in my life, whether biographical or not; it will happen. I'd like to think it will be epic.

  • Road trip
This is a vague one, but rooted in good intentions. There is something about driving with the windows down, living off of road food and processed snacks, singing too loud and thinking long and hard about the road ahead of you. I'm sure I'll get more specific about this bad boy, but for now, it's a rough plan.

  • Bake macarons
Ending the list on a whimsical note; they are just so goddamn beautiful and have endless flavour opportunities. Really... it's a dream (that will soon come true).

My list is rough, and very unfocused. But I am wonderfully ok with that. I dare any of you to do the challenge; I'm technically one behind, because #2 is Go for a walk (and document it). I'll get there. Hopefully you will too.

Much love.