2014: A year in review

As I sit here, looking at tiny snowflakes falling gently outside my window, I reflect on the past year. Like snowflakes, life and it’s events seem to be a series of very small things falling randomly something larger. People could be seen as snowflakes, they are complex structures and no two snowflakes are exactly the same. When put together, they are powerful and can thwart schedules and endeavours of those around them. A couple years ago in the summer I took an acid trip at a music festival. My greatest takeaway from the trip occurred when I hallucinated the most sparkly snowflakes falling through the air. Since this occurred on a hot day in July, it was clearly just my imagination. But the greater takeaway that came to me during the trip was that people get so caught up in their individual lives that they often forget the collectivity of it all. It is not just about the snowflake – we are a snowbank.

As I review this year, with its highlights and many falls, I will try to consider both the snowflake and the snowbank.

When I thought about how to write this blog post, I considered splitting it into “highlights” and “downfalls.” Interestingly though I could only remember distinct highlights, despite my feeling that overall this had been one of my harder years. Perhaps all experience cannot really be considered positive or negative, since they all accumulate to bring us where we are, and where we are going, and ultimately make us and shape us into the non-perfect creatures we are. All of it humanizing.

And so I have chosen to review the year visually, though photographs. As a painter I am way more visual anyways. And so here is my year in review through photographs (I realize I fell off on posting regularly, as this seemed to be one of the busiest falls I’ve ever seen so here are all the posts I wished to write about condensed into one):

Early in the year, I was surrounded by snowflakes, yet very alone.  I had gone to Utah with my mother to visit her cousin and ski.  Unfortunately, my mom got injured on the first day and I ended up skiing alone for the remainder of the trip.  At first this was scary, daunting and embarrassing.  But I learned to be humbled by the vast and powerful rugged setting and enjoy time alone with my thoughts and my skis.  I literally felt myself mature in those few days and got real time away from it all to sort out where I am and where I am going, both literally and figuratively.

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I also got to play dress up apres-ski, which I can never complain about!

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After that ski trip, where I stepped beyond my boundaries, met strangers and resolved to live my life saying “why not” instead of “should I,” I even found these gym pants at the outlet stores to express my newfound zest for adventure.

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Soon after, I had my first shoot with Lee Solo, a photographer who has not only become a friend, but an incredible partner.  We have shot multiple times since this, but from our very first encounter when it was about 9 in the morning and he offered me a bottle of Jack, I knew it was the start of something wonderful.  Our work made it onto a hip hop album cover for a group that we love so much and is on the rise, doing big tings, and the wallpaper of this blog is shot by Lee, capturing me in my happy place on a beach and in blades with one of my newest and closest friends, Ashley.

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Our album cover for Philly Moves‘ “Olga”:

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Speaking of Ashley, if there was ever to be a highlight of my year, it may be meeting this true beauty (inside and out).  She is the Veronica to my Betty.  This may have been my most jaded year of my life, and especially working in the entertainment industry, where we met, I could not be more grateful to discover that real, genuine people like this still exist.

This was the day we first met (Ashley is in the middle):

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At Caribana:

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We became closer when she helped me shoot a promotional video for the swimsuit/lingerie wholesaler I interned with (The ShOwroom/SBC Clothing).  It was a huge cumulative project that encompassed everything I love about work and I could not have asked for a better team of beauties helping me through the madness of modelling, producing, directing and selling all at the same time.

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Speaking of SBC Clothing/The ShOwroom, interning with them was one of my greatest accomplishments this year.  Not only did I love coming to work (despite the commute to Oakville), I grew and learned so much in the role.  I got to run a social media campaign and express my creativity in various ways, including creating window displays.  To say nothing of the fact that I worked with some of the nicest people on the planet!

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On top of interning, this year was also extremely busy work-wise with many modelling and promotional events, that were all fun but brought certain challenges.

Working with Rockstar:

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As an extreme sports fanatic, this was definitely a highlight!

Working with TSN for a hilarious intro shoot also meant my love of sports could come in handy in the workplace!

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Working at the NHL golf tournament and running a scotch tasting brought two of my favourite things together (golf swag and fine liquor tasting):

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Any event I can work in a bikini is also a bonus!

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Or lingerie….IMG_6382 IMG_6355IMG_6383

Or costumes… IMG_7037 IMG_7021 IMG_6945 IMG_6950 IMG_6955 IMG_4671 IMG_0213 IMG_0207 IMG_7996 IMG_7982

Or at festivals: IMG_2921

Or when I get to promote incredible products by Ezzy Lynn, the new company I have partnered with who are not only charitably conscious by donating portions of their profit to the WWF, but just the sweetest business trio you have ever met:IMG_7390 IMG_7221 IMG_7345

Or get to work with some of these amazing girls I also consider friends:

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Photoshoots also provided an incredible creative outlet for me, and I realized that though I have been a model for so long, it is the acting and getting into character that I love most, and so more acting must be pursued in 2015.

Behind the Scenes modelling Love Haus lingerie in a live photoshoot for Kallone and later being featured on their page:

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More BTS wearing Peixoto Swimwear for Kallone:

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Behind the Scenes for the incredible thesis collection by Alannah Lindberg:

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Behind the scenes for a photoshoot for various modern Indian designers and featuring the gorgeous makeup of my classmate Praby for her company, Iris Artistry:

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Playing a beat up Courtney Love and Cher for my former classmate Jessica‘s thesis project for makeup school:

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Shooting the campaign for one of the licensed brands at SBC Clothing, Moontide Swimwear:

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Side note: I got to cast the photographer and picked my incredibly talented friend and photographer Brogan McNab, who never fails to exceed expectations!

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Behind the scenes of another makeup thesis shoot for Alexandra Weinstein, where I got to fulfill my dream of becoming a mermaid:

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Shooting for NYC Photographer Biff Jeffries in Connecticut:

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Not everything was as Peachy Keen as it looks.  This year I truly discovered that when expectations are high, disappointment is likely.  Halloween was a tumultuous night to say the least, and I cried on my birthday, feeling inadequate at 25.  Luckily these wonderful people were there for the good and the bad.

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Speaking of friends; I have some pretty great ones.  But as we mature and our lives change direction so much, I have begun to appreciate how maintaining friendship takes effort.  I have come to accept the changes and cherish every moment with these beautiful people.  At a time when many friends are moving away to far off destinations, and with my desire to leave this place behind our time together is truly invaluable.

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One of the most exciting things this year was seeing long-time friends evolve, most notably, seeing my gorgeous best friend Raena get married.  Being one of the most fashionable people I know, there was no doubt that this would be an epic event.  However, no photograph could ever truly capture how beautiful she was that day.  Tears gushed from my eyes when she exited the limo for the church and the veil was placed over her face.  With the wind blowing and the sun shining through it, the beauty was overwhelming.

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I was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid and absolutely love the dress she picked for us:

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And of course there was some hilarious bachelorette debauchery:

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Speaking of love… Ryan.  Ladies, if you find a man who can read your mind – keep him.  I could write an entire book about this incredible partner, who is not only one of the most selfless, considerate and sensitive human beings I have ever met, but who makes me better and stronger every day.  As a strong believer in astrological compatibility, it should have been a sign that he has the same birthday as my best friend, Raena and is the same sign as two of my other best friends.  It is so cheesy to say, but I feel blessed for every minute I get with him.  We met at a music festival in the summer and almost instantly fell in love at another festival weeks later.  The word “highlight” in reference to him just seems like an understatement.

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(Even camping was a blast since we got to see Ghostface in concert and we had our buddy Johnny Walker with us):

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Jeepin:

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Mini Golf:

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TIFF:

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Our final day at Cabana was an unforgettable one, that is burned into my memory.

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And our first magical day there together:

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My first trip to Niagara Falls for my birthday:

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And my first country fair:

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The Christmas Market:

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My other love, is most definitely my pup, Kailey.  She turned 4 yesterday and she is always a light that gets me through any bad day.  She is truly a part of our family.  Going to Connecticut for a family reunion really helped to show me the value of the people we are not around all the time, but who are so connected to us.  At a time when we are extremely self-focused and career crazy, family can really bring us back to earth.

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More Kailey pictures, she has her own instagram (@thedailykailey), I’m sure her own blog will be next:

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Finally, for a narcissistic view (since fashion blogs are innately narcissistic in nature), a year full of outfit shots and selfies:

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P.S. Should I start the new year with bangs/fringe again?

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