blog

  • No bitterness. Only happiness.

    No bitterness. Only happiness.

    'No bitterness, only happiness,' reads a sign outside a coffee shop in Seminyak, Bali. It makes me smile only because I've spent a week here and understand the message. There is a beautiful harmony to this place and the Balinese seem blissfully unaware of it. They live in it every day, arriving to work on their scooters, sometimes with their dog and 2 children in tow. They smile, they serve, they laugh, they pray and they wake up and do it all again the next day. 

    I noticed what looked like shrines containing baskets full of goodies outside of almost every building and asked a local resident what they were. "They are offerings," he said, "to the gods. We pray two times a day, in the morning and at night and thank the gods for our lives." I begin to see these offerings everywhere, outside the front of boutiques, restaurants, even in taxis and I start to notice people doing their daily prayers. It's quite beautiful watching this act of gratitude and knowing how important it is to them to be thankful. There seems to not only be a respect for one another but for ritual, tradition and family. "It is family first," I am told, "then money, then work. And you will not get the Balinese to change that, ever." 

  • Getting settled - week one

    Getting settled - week one

    Thanks to the power of Facebook, I was connected with the owner of a beautiful home in Bali through a friend of a friend. I've come to learn that she rarely rents out her space to strangers and usually reserves her spare room for close friends and family, so I feel very lucky to be staying in her private home. It also turns out that she's quite lovely and we get on very well. She even invited me out with her good friend that night to have dinner and girl talk so my introduction to Bali and it's people has been, so far, warm and inclusive. 

    I woke the next day to that feeling of, "Wait, where am I?," and then smiled immediately knowing I was just beginning an amazing trip full of doing nothing and everything. It is an interesting feeling to clear your schedule for a month and have literally, no plans. What do you do when no one is telling you what to do? This is going to be interesting...

  • Arriving in Bali

    Arriving in Bali

    I couldn't help but wrap myself up in the beauty of Bali the moment I arrived at my Airbnb. Hair was notted in a bun, clothes were off and there I was, beginning my amazing vacation. Even after 27 hours of travel, I felt as clear and centered as when I first stepped on that train to LAX. There is something magical about this place and I could feel it immediately. 

    My wonderful 'host' had arranged a car to pick me up at the airport and sure enough Yoga was waiting for me with a sign that read "Remy Tamara H". He was lovely and kind and welcomed me to Bali. We got on the road to Semiyak and I noticed many new sites along the way, especially the organized choas of the city. Motor bikes and mini cars snaking there way around each other, narrowly missing each other's bumpers.

    As we began to leave the city of Denpasar, the air started to get a little quiter, the cars a little slower and the foliage a big bigger. Even in my weariness and sleep deprivation, my eyes were wide with excitement... 

  • Finding Joy in Bali

    Finding Joy in Bali

    June 19th, I fly to Bali for a month. This is a trip that was born out of desperation for something new. It was sparked by debt, loss and heartbreak. It is a giant leap of faith to try and shift something in my life to get better. Some may not know this, because I don't publicize my personal life, but last year was one of the worst years I've ever had. I lost so much that was dear to me and truthfully, it leveled me. It took the ground out from underneath me. I lost my fiancé, my home, my animals, a best friend and work. Some of these were my choices because my ultimate happiness was at stake, but I had to endure great loss to try and get to a better place. My heart is still not healed and I don't have a place I call home yet, but I hope to find my joy again in Bali.

    So come with me on my little 'Eat, Pray, Love' spiritual journey. My stuff is still in storage, my kitties have a host 'mom' and I’m taking off. Am I doing this easily? Oh hell no. I’m scared. I’m excited but I’m also terrified. I’m taking bold action to shift my life into a better place and I’m hoping it all works out. Leap and the net will appear right? 

  • Having Fun With Shapes

    Having Fun With Shapes

    My friend Marne discovered yoga in the late 90's when it seemed we were all just starting to hear about it. A few months ago she asked if I'd take some pictures of her to promote her yoga. It was a no brainer, since I'd been photographing her for years, first as my test subject through photo school and then documenting other important events in her life like her engagement. We'd always seem to get these amazing results, whatever we dreamed up to shoot together and this experiment was no exception. With her goal of building her Instagram following, we set out every two weeks to photograph her. We'd change locations and she'd bring 10 or so outfits. We'd keep it to 2 hours and we'd just blast through a bunch of cool scenarios. As she began to drip out these images, new followers came quickly. She went from 42 followers when we first started to over 7K now, a few months later. I'd like to think it's my stellar photo skilz that helped this tragectory but I know it's the combo platter of good energy we have each time we set out to create some art. 

    @msmarnediva

  • Traveling to other countries

    Traveling to other countries

    I'm Canadian, but I have a green card to live here in the United States. Had one parent not been born in the US, I would have had a harder time getting approved to relocate. Going back to a place like Canada wouldn't be all that bad, so I can't speak to the feeling that some people have right now facing deportation back to countries that aren't safe for them or being separated from their family members. But as a human being, I feel for these people, no matter where they were born. 

    A few years ago I was blessed to travel to 8 countries in 8 weeks to shoot for a worldwide ad campaign for Microsoft. We met with 3 families or friends per day and basically recorded their lives for a few hours. These people were strangers to us, people we'd never met. You know what I remember most about that experience? I remember realizing that we're all very similar. We cherish family time, we support one another and we welcome strangers. In every city across the globe, we were welcomed in to people's lives and homes to share time with them, sometimes sharing a vodka and sometimes leaving with gifts. 

    I understand the reasoning behind Prez Trump's decision to try and not let in the bad guys, but I feel sad that his 'blanket' approach may be excluding some perfectly harmless people and hurting many along the way. I very much hope we can continue to value one another personally, in our day to day and when traveling, so we can show the world that we don't all agree with our president's decisions. 

    Thanks Igor for that homemade Vodka. Russia was unforgettable and I never order a Vodka tonic now without thinking of you and your hospitality. 

    *In honor of our friends and family in other countries I've set up a new travel portfolio here, to remember all the amazing sites I was able to see because I was allowed to. 

  • Hotel Z

    Hotel Z

    Pretty fun to switch gears and shoot some interiors for Hotel Z in San Diego. Fuzzy robes available and cupcakes in the lobby, it was my kind of place.

  • Kat Dennings

    Kat Dennings

    Super fun to shoot such a beauty. I guess her show, "Two Broke Girls," is doing great. No doubt. She was lovely.