Sharing the Awesome Archive

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!

I’d like to welcome Myra MacDonald – queen of stand up paddle boarding. Myra taught children for many years and has recently shifted to teaching stand up paddle boarding to adults.

005Myra, how did you get involved with stand up paddle boarding? M: In 2012, I took a lesson on a lake north of Kingston. I knew immediately that I loved the sport, and having had experience in sailing and windsurfing (albeit not highly skilled at the latter), I knew that purchasing a board was my next step. After a great deal of research, I settled on a high quality Jimmy Lewis brand board, and returned to Kingston to practice my new-found obsession. I was very surprised to be one of a few paddle boarders on Lake Ontario, and loved the varied conditions and challenges that our lake provided. Although Kingston boasts countless waterfront sites and inland lakes, which are all accessible given a very short commute, I rarely saw other paddleboarders. I was eager to share this simple-to-learn sport, and decided to embark on a path to become an instructor. In 2013, I took Paddle Canada courses leading to my PC Instructor qualification, certified with PaddleFit USA, and in First Aid. Soon after, I launched SUP Kingston to teach lessons and sell boards as an authorized Jimmy Lewis dealer.

 

SUP Kingston-01I love that you could turn something you’re passionate about into a business and that you not only teach others, but at the same time, you meet new people to enjoy the sport with. Making your own fun! What does SUP involve? M: Flat water conditions provide a very meditative experience which is perfect for beginners, yoga, continuous paddling and touring, or for socializing. Calm conditions usually occur early in the morning or in the evening, which is perfect for paddlers wishing to paddle before or after work. Afternoons often bring waves and choppy conditions. Being the Freshwater Sailing Capital of the World, Kingston, on Lake Ontario, provides diverse conditions for SUP. This provides more challenging conditions for teaching advanced skills. With experience, paddle boarders seek windy conditions in order to take their workout to a level, which can mimic tempo and even interval training on land.

SUP is also done in surf, and touring on SUP over long distances is popular. SUP racing is very established throughout the world and the Ontario SUP Series is showing continued growth. Many people use their boards for the practice of yoga as well. Nighttime paddling is lovely by the light of a full moon, although added safety measures such as the use of headlamps, and waterproof flashlights are required. PaddleFit circuit training engages paddlers in a bootcamp style workout combining sprint paddling and buoy turns with beach drills.

IMG_2696I didn’t realize it was so versatile! What do you love about it? M: I feel an incredible sense of freedom the minute I set foot on my board. It’s liberating to glide away from a land-locked city onto a vast liquid playground. SUP provides an incredible workout for all muscle groups without feeling like you’re working out! With groups, SUP can also be a very social activity. It’s the fastest growing water sport in the world, with so many branches of the sport. There are always mentors to learn from. I am currently part of Paddle Monster, an online training group coached by Olympian Larry Cain. Other positive aspects of SUP are that it requires minimal equipment, boards are easy to transport and store, and only your own energy is required! Leave no trace!

It feeds the mind, body, and soul. 😀 Do you have any advice for beginners? M: My advice would be to take a lesson from a certified instructor on quality equipment that is properly sized for the beginner’s ability and body weight. When learning on premium equipment, students are always pleasantly surprised at how responsive the boards are, and ultimately at how successful they become in a short time. Introductory lessons should also have a strong focus on safety. When choosing equipment for purchase, always test paddle the board you are considering. It is crucial to get advice from a knowledgeable salesperson. The recommended board should suit your size, and should be a shape that is correct for your intended type of paddling (river, touring, surf, yoga). Buy the best quality equipment that your budget will allow; it will perform well and will retain its resale value. Try an inflatable board as well! They’re easy to store and transport and quality boards pump to over 20psi for outstanding firmness.

IMG_4263Like any sport, tips from an expert can speed up that learning curve. What kind of training did you have to do to become an instructor? M: Paddle Canada provides a hierarchy of skills courses leading to instructor certifications. I completed Basic and Advanced Skills courses followed by Basic and Advanced Instructor courses. Time on the water at each stage is critical, in order to solidify skills learned prior to becoming an instructor. I’m currently working through a mentorship in the hope that I’ll be able to certify others as instructors some day.

Cool! What would you pick as a superpower? M: The most useful superpower would be the ability to control the weather, especially wind speed and direction.

Handy for a SUP instructor! What’s your favourite dessert? M: My favourite dessert is any ice cream with high quality ingredients and no additives.

A session out on the water and delicious ice cream – sounds like the perfect combo for the hot summer days we’re having. Myra, thank you very much for sharing your love of SUP. A group lesson on the water sounds like a fun way to get active!

There’s more about SUP Kingston at www.SUPKingston.com

 

 

Colouring with Creative Karen Marcotte

Posted February 16, 2016 By Linda

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!

 

Adult colouring books? Who’d have thought they’d be so popular? Karen Marcotte – that’s who! Karen loves to colour and started long before the current trend started. She has an excellent eye for colour and shading and makes an everyday card a work of art!

 

Karen's 5 bella cardsKaren, how did you get interested in colouring? K: I’ve been making greeting cards for a few years. They started out as mini scrapbooking projects. Initially I used embellishments with things like 3-D appliques – and I seem to recall a glitter phase. Then it evolved to embossing, and then to colouring with different media – paint, markers, and pencil crayons.

 

 

 

Karen card birthdayHow do you make a card? K: I colour first and make the card second! I start with a stamp. I used to use wooden stamps, but now most of them are clear plastic mounted on blocks or digital images that can be sized and printed on special paper. Then comes the fun part – the colouring! I have a selection of over 280 special markers – I love Copic markers –they’re alcohol-based markers that blend beautifully. I use shading and layers to get exactly the colour I want.

 

 

Bella partyAnd I know you have such a keen eye, that you can see a colour and know exactly which one of the 280 markers creates it! If someone would like to start making cards, what advice would you give them? K: Stamping Up is an online community for card making. It’s sort of like going to a Tupperware party with a demo and instructions. They teach the basics and you can buy the supplies and they walk you through it. You could just buy what you need on your own, but it’s more fun to get together with a group of friends or other enthusiastic card creators! For more advanced techniques, Kit and Clowder has excellent online workshops. You get a booklet of written instructions, images, downloadable videos, and the best part – feedback from the instructor!

 

Karen card Ahoy SailorI love the Bella Stamps you use. What are your favourite stamps (or is that like picking a favourite child)? K: Haha – a little. I really like Kraftin’ Kimmie clear stamps and Mo Manning digital stamps. Most stamp companies have a design team. The design team gets early access to free stamps and commits to colour and post the images to promote them. And you can meet some interesting people, too!

 

 

 

Karen card Circus Trixie

 

I love that your art is also practical. Cards make great gifts – except they’re too pretty to give away! K: It’s great for fundraising too – I’ve made cards to support Autism and Crohn’s. It’s a great excuse to get together with friends and colour all day!

 

 

It’s the fun in fundraising! Haha. What would you pick as a superpower? K: The gift of healing. I would love everyone around me to be healthy.

 

Karen card fun in the sun

 

Hey, me too! What song would be your theme song? K: Is there one called ‘Take Me on Vacation with my Markers’?

 

 

 

If not, there should be! What’s your favourite dessert? K: Carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

Bella card by Karen 2 friends on a bench

 

Yum!! If Liesa Cross would make her GF one, I could share it with you. Karen, thank you so much for dropping by and sharing your colouring expertise. You have a very special talent for creating stunning art. And what a better way to relax and be creative – go colour!

 

 

Multi-talented Wendy Reynolds!

Posted September 8, 2015 By Linda

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!

Wendy photo 1Today’s guest is multi-talented Wendy Reynolds! I met Wendy when we struck up a conversation at a writing workshop – and I’m so happy to have met her. She has the most amazing photos of flowers on her Facebook page, shares yummy recipes, writes short stories, and has a very cute pooch, named Boone!

 

 

Website Wendy photo 2Wendy, how did you get interested in photographing flowers? W: Although I can’t specifically remember (Old Timer’s Affliction, you know!), I have been interested in photography since I was a little kid. The interest in flowers, I think, coincided with two things: getting a new camera that was capable of capturing great macro photos, which is what I really like best; and joining Facebook. I started sharing the photos on my Facebook wall and my friends seemed to really like them. Nothing like a little positive reinforcement to fan a little flame of interest into a full-blown obsession!

Website Wendy photo 6Sounds like me and writing 😀 Are the flowers all from your own garden? W:You bet! I love heading out to my garden early in the morning with a cup of coffee and snipping off a few flowers here and there while the dew is still clinging to their colourful petals. Then, I set myself up in the kitchen and decide which flowers will go where and in which vase. (This is a very important part of the process! We have a fantastic collection of vintage vases, jugs, and jars that we’ve amassed over the years from auctions, flea markets, yard sales, and my mother’s cupboards. I love deciding upon the perfect vessel for each little posey.) Then I take the photographs in various places around the house. It’s a wonderfully creative way for me to start my day.

 

 

Website Wendy photo 7And a lovely way to share the collection. What equipment do you use? W: Well, my cameras are pretty basic. I have a pretty old Fuji point-and-shoot that takes the great macro shots, and a newish Canon DSLR that has a nice zoom lens on it. I never use flash because it makes the flowers look phony and overexposed. The lighting depends on the location in my house that I’ve selected for each posey. For example, my kitchen has a south exposure so it gets really nice light in the morning. Time of day and the angle of the sun are really important. Long, low sunbeams always make for better photos. So I tend to take photos either early in the morning or in the early evening. I sometimes play around with artificial light in the evening, which is kind of fun, but not always successful!

 

Website Wendy photo 8And since it’s everchanging, adds to the art of it. You post them on FB, but have you ever put them in a book or had a showing? W: Just Facebook. I really don’t think the photos are good enough, technically, for broader public display, although I know that, creatively, they are often expressive and reflective of my love of flowers. (At least I hope so!)

Yes they are, and I think would make a lovely album! Do you have any advice for someone interested in starting out with photography? W: It’s become an overused concept, but it’s like anything else – find your passion! And get to know your camera. For many years before I bought the bigger and better DSLR, I used that little, very unfancy point-and-shoot, and I learned what it could do well and what it wasn’t so great at doing. It took great pictures for me once I figured that out. I took a few courses, too, and read things – it’s good to have a basic understanding of technique, although I have to say I think a sense of creativity wins out every time in that contest!

Website Wendy photo 4If you had to pick a song to be your theme song what would it be? W: Definitely, my theme song is a silly Gershwin song that got its start in the late Vaudeville era. My mother used to sing it to me all the time. It’s called “A Sunny Disposish” (for disposition) and the first couple of lines are “A sunny disposish will always see you through, When up above the skies are black instead of being blue” and goes on from there. It reminds me of my wonderful 86-year-old mother, and her cheerful attitude towards life, which is the only attitude to have, right?

 

Website Wendy photo 3Yes, definitely! I think it pays off to focus on the positive. What would you pick as a superpower? W: Hmmmm … it’s not exactly a superpower, but I’d like to have a clone! There are always so many interesting things I’d like to do and never enough time to do them all. Even though I’m now semi-retired and don’t have as much of that pesky paid employment to worry about, there seem to be even fewer hours in the day. Now, how on earth did THAT happen?!

Haha – sounds like the perfect place to be. What’s your favourite dessert? W: Hands down my friend, Donna’s, Lazy Daisy Cake! It’s a simple white cake that has a brown sugar and coconut broiled topping. I always ask her to make it for me, either for special occasions like my birthday or for times when I need comfort. And she is such a great friend that she makes it for me whenever I ask. Which I try not to do every single day!

 

Website Wendy photo 5

 

Dessert and a friend to share with it – the perfect combo 😀 Thank you very much, Wendy for sharing your love of photography! Can’t wait to have you back to share your love of writing, or cooking, or gardening, or Boone! Stay busy everyone!

 

Lin Arthur, Physiotherapist

Posted May 12, 2015 By Linda

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!

My guest today is Lin Arthur, compassionate and caring pediatric physiotherapist! Lin’s dedication and extensive experience are invaluable to children and families coping with developmental disabilities.

smudge chalk girlsLin, how did you become interested in working with children in the field of physiotherapy? L: When I was a physiotherapy student, I did a summer internship at Sick Kids in Toronto on the neurosurgical unit. I loved working with the kids and part of that work included outpatient treatment for children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy. I really enjoyed that population and after graduation, decided to focus my career on treatment for children with developmental disabilities. Working with infants is my favourite!

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Henry Kauf, Financial Planner

Posted April 21, 2015 By Linda

My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome moms, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious! 

Henry Kauf

My guest today is Henry Kauf, financial advisor with a flare for sound advice! I love to talk to Henry about the global economy and investment strategies. Not that I understand it all – but it’s fascinating to hear him talk about world trends!

 

 

Henry, how did you become interested in financial planning? H: My journey to being a ‘finance guy’ started when I was 14. I discovered that I had the type of head that could, and liked doing peoples income tax returns. I have always felt that we are all ‘made’ to do something well.  Our biggest job in life is to discover what that thing is that we would love and comes easy. In my 20s I tried most aspects of finance and at 29 (30 years ago) a friend said that I had a good financial mind and should try being a stockbroker. It all grew from there.

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