The Value of Sharing Photographs

16 Aug

A photograph holds so much value; from the memories that it eternalizes, to the bursts of nostalgia that it ignites, a photograph speaks a lot more than just 1000 words.  My passion for photography began at a really early age and I knew that when it came time to get married, pictures would be a big focus of importance in the wedding planning process.

Having recently been married, I can speak to the importance of photography. Weddings involve several different stages and a photograph is the best way to capture a snapshot of each of these milestones that lead up to the main event. Between the engagement photos, wedding ceremony and the wedding reception, there are several memories to be captured.

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Once all of the photos have been taken, what do you do with them? Do they sit on your computer in a folder that gets neglected? Do the pictures stay on a CD or a USB stick that eventually gets lost over time? I am all about printing my photographs and having the memories live on, rather than having the pictures become out of sight and out of mind. One of my favourite ways to keep the memories alive is to create a photo book so that I can enjoy my pictures.

When I was in high school, I went on a trip to Italy and the photographs that I had from that trip were unbelievable. I decided that I needed to do something more than just put the pictures into a photo album. I stumbled across Shutterfly and that changed the way I share my photographs. I put together a beautiful hardcover photo book that I was able to customize and share with my family and friends. Another photo book that I made, also with Shutterfly, was a memory book for my husband on our 1 year dating anniversary back in 2007.

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The beauty of a photo book is that the final product is what you make it to be; you can customize the photo book to be unique to you. I plan on making a photo book for my wedding, the tricky part is deciding which photographs to use! Sharing photographs stirs valuable conversation, evokes memories that are near and dear to my heart, and I am able to relive special moments in my life that I never want to forget.

How do you share your photos?

Merzybean

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Gaga Popping the Popular Culture Bubble with ARTPOP

13 Aug

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It is no surprise that Lady Gaga is attracting controversial headlines, with the early release of her single Applause off of her upcoming album ARTPOP. It is also no surprise, that with the digital age we live in, that artists are facing the threat of hackers leaking their music before their intended release dates. Gaga, along with Jay-Z and Katy Perry, have recently fallen victim to these “pop music emergencies.”

The official Lady Gaga website posted the below Pop Music Emergency statement:

A POP MUSIC EMERGENCY IS UNDERWAY 911 – 911 SUMMON THE MONSTER TROUPES

DUE TO HACKERS AN ABUNDANCE OF LOW/HIGH QUALITY LEAKS…WE ISSUE THIS POP MUSIC EMERGENCY…MONSTERS SPREAD THE WORD

In true Gaga fashion, the Haus of Gaga released the below YouTube video entitled Lady Gaga is Over: A Film by Haus of Gaga, sending subliminal messages to fans telling them not to buy her new single. Surely this is not the intent of Mother Monster. This type of shock-value marketing (popping the pop culture bubble of mainstream ideas, if you will) is clever because it gets people talking, whether they are fans or not. I applaud Gaga on that move (among several other similar marketing stunts over the course of her career).

Aside from the early leak of Applause and the controversy it is generating, the song itself has had highly mixed reviews. Gaga released an official audio of the song on her Vevo channel on August 12th. Personally, I did not hear any of the low quality leaked versions of the song. And truthfully, my initial reaction was: oh yes, Gaga has done it again! Not that Gaga is frankly interested in the opinions of bloggers, as she so subtly tweeted. However, I think that this is in reference to those who are just constantly looking to criticize for the sake of it (Perez…Hilton…).

Interestingly enough, Rolling Stone, MTV and Fuse liken Applause to Gaga’s early work in her The Fame album. I can see how this comparison is made, as Applause has a club feel with a theatrical flare. Applause does what any good pop song should do: electrify listeners. I think that Gaga ignites an urge in listeners to dance and move; hence the ARTPOP movement. Gaga has made it known that she lives for Pop music and if the lyrics of this song do not reflect this, nothing will. Gaga lives for the applause and she lives for her fans; this is what we have been told.

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Pop culture was in art now,
Art in Pop culture in me.

As a self-proclaimed Little Monster, Lady Gaga always gets two claws up from Merzybean.

Hello from Greece

28 Jun

Hello friends! I am writing to you from glorious Greece. Don’t expect too many posts from this end of the world, as I am busy basking in the sun and enjoying the beautiful weather.

I wanted to write a quick post because it is only when I am on the beach and walking through the village that I am so often reminded of the simpler things in life.

I am in Greece for three beautiful occassions: my wedding, the 60th wedding anniversary of my grandparents, and a family reunion. It simply does not get better than this. Material possessions come and go but the one guarantee in life is that as long as you are surrounded by love, the rest will fall into place as it should.

Well, I can guarantee you that I am surrounded by love. My family is spread all over the world and everyone will be meeting here in Greece, slowly but surely. As the island begins to fill with my family, my heart will be full of happiness. The greatest joy in the world is to love and be loved.

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Sending you sunshine from Greece,

Merzybean

Fitch, Please- Ellen Weighs In

17 May

No pun intended, Ellen DeGeneres weighs in on the outlandish comments made by Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries. Jeffries is finding himself in a lot of hot water, as he makes horribly judgemental comments such as,  “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

I think that Jeffries has blurred the line between exclusionary and downright narrow minded. Ideally, one would expect Jeffries to either back track or apologize for such close-minded thinking. On the contrary, he takes pride in his company’s lack of empathy and understanding of the human body.

The fact that we live in a world where we are going backwards instead of progressing forwards, essentially teaching children not to be accepting of everyone, is shocking to me. A company whose brand relies on such exclusionary marketing has a lot to be ashamed of. This is not the message that children should be faced with, nor is this type of branding that teaches children anything positive about body image.

I would add more to this but I think that Ellen says it best:

 

Until next time,

Merzybean.

Merzybean Just Checked In At The Gym

14 May

Why bother checking in once I have arrived at the gym? Why bother posting pictures of my workout successes after leaving the gym?

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I never used to be one of those people, and it’s a crying shame. I have been going to the gym five days a week for the last month and have “checked in” on Facebook every single time I arrive at the gym. I used to think that this was unnecessary when I would see other people’s gym check-ins appear on my Facebook Newsfeed. Boy, was I wrong! There is nothing useless about doing this. In fact, the exact opposite effect is achieved.

This idea of checking in at the gym and having people know when I was working out didn’t really mean much to me until I started to see other people do it and I began to feel motivated by them. On Instagram I started to follow people who were posting inspiring pictures of weight loss successes, their workouts, and healthy meals. A friend of mine started to share pictures of her post-workout success by taking a picture of her Polar exercise watch after each workout (workout time and calories burned were captured).

Everyday I would see these healthy lifestyle pictures and eventually I got inspired to the point at which I decided enough was enough. I was no longer going to take a backseat to this healthy lifestyle, I wanted to be the person to check into the gym everyday, to post how many miles I ran and how many calories I burned at the gym, and to be that person to inspire others.

When people say that it is obnoxious or unnecessary to share with the world every time you go to the gym, I beg to differ. The influx of text messages, Facebook messages/likes, Instagram comments/likes, Tweets and face-to-face conversations I have had with friends who feel motivated by seeing my daily check-ins are a true testament to the power of social media. Social media can directly influence and inspire people to make a change in their lives. I was inspired by others and am honoured to be able to inspire my own friends and family. The amount of positive reception that I have received has overwhelmed me. On days that I feel lazy or do not have energy to drag myself to the gym, I remember the people who have inspired me and those who I have inspired.

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The only workouts I regret are the ones I don’t do. I’m not posting about working out on my social media to brag or show off, believe me when I say this- I am far from being able to brag! However, if my harmless check-in can keep me motivated and inspire someone else to get off the couch and go for a run, I must be doing something right!

Keep moving,

Merzybean.

Celebrating All Women

8 Mar

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Today is International Women’s Day. This is a day to remember that, as a woman, I have a lot to be proud of. There have been incredible triumphs and successes for women all over the world, stemming from the early 1900s. We must take the time to  remember that the battle for equality and the right to things that some people take for granted are still struggles for women in Third World Countries.

The International Women’s Day website articulates this point very well, saying that “the unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.” While women’s rights have come so far, there are still women around the world who do not have the same opportunities as women in First World Countries because of the oppressive conditions in which they live. Let us not give up on our fallen sisters who are still fighting for the right to education, health and an end to violence.

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I decided to use the powerful words of others to commemorate the strength and beauty of all women:

Eleanor Roosevelt
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.

Charles Malik
The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.

Simone de Beauvoir
One is not born a woman, one becomes one.

Virginia Woolf
As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.

Ellen DeGeneres
I really don’t think I need buns of steel. I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.

Oprah Winfrey
Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

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Let us celebrate all of the beautiful women in our lives today. I dedicate this post to the most beautiful woman in my life, my mother!

Xoxo,

Merzybean

Disney’s Paperman: A Timeless Tale of Love

14 Feb

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Disney never disappoints me, ever. As some of my readers know, I am a huge Disney advocate. A huge thank you to Nikki, who recently shared the link of the animated short film with me. Paperman accompanied Wreck-It-Ralph when it was out in theaters, last year. John Kahrs lends his genius ability as the director as well as the lead role of Geroge, the Paperman. The story is set in 1940s New York City, and while it might be a bit before my time, the story of love is timeless and that is what really appealed to me.

There is something so beautiful about this short film because it stands out from the various animated films and TV shows that are common today, as it incorporates both 2D and 3D animation. I was thrilled to find out that Paperman is nominated for the Best Animated Short Film for this year’s Academy Awards. I haven’t seen the other films in the category, but I would be over the moon to hear, “The Oscar goes to…Disney’s Paperman.” I think that it is so deserving. There is something both charming and alluring about the film. It reminds me that there is something magical about love.

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Happy Valentine’s Day,

Merzybean.
Xoxo

Let’s Talk with Bell

12 Feb

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Let’s Talk is a charitable initiative that Bell launched in 2010 to help promote the awareness and support of mental health in Canada. According to Bell, “this multi-million dollar initiative will support a wide range of programs that will enhance awareness, understanding and treatment of mental illness and promote access to care and research across the country.”

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The work that Bell has done for mental health is incredible, helping to eliminate the negative stigma that mental health is often surrounded by.

With the constant rise in social media, Bell has cleverly campaigned the Let’s Talk Day to help spread the world and help end the stigma associated with mental health.

How, you might ask? Today, on February 12th, for every Bell text message, tweet, Bell long-distance call, and Facebook share, Bell will donate 5₵ to help the millions of Canadians suffering from mental health concerns. Remember to Tweet using the hashtag, #BellLetsTalk.

Let’s do our part and let’s talk. We spend countless hours on our phones and social media, so today we must make it worthwhile and help bring awareness to the cause. We must remember that awareness and removing the stigma that surrounds mental health is just the beginning. I believe that great things can come from talking, so let’s get the conversation going.

Let’s talk,

Merzybean

Interview: Chatting with the Lovely Emilie Clarke

8 Feb
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There have been quite a few exciting interviews taking place here at Merzybean and this interview will not disappoint. I had the chance to speak with Emilie Clarke, a Radio Announcer for Virgin Radio in Vancouver and a YouTuber. Emilie is incredibly down to earth and relatable and we share the same interests, so I really enjoy watching her videos on YouTube. It was a pleasure to interview Emilie!

I hope you enjoy reading what she has to say and make sure to check out her YouTube channel and connect with her via social media.

MB: What made you decide to start a YouTube channel?

EC: A couple years ago, I was researching Louis Vuitton bags and when I googled “Louis Vuitton Speedy” a video by JuicyTuesday came up. It was her handbag collection. I clicked on it and then watched 20 of her other videos. Then I started watching videos by other girls and I thought… “I can do this. This is fun” and so I did.

MB: Did you have any reservations about YouTubing?

EC: Not really. With my job I have to have a tough skin so it has come in handy once or twice.  Plus, if you want to do something nothing should stop you… especially worrying about what people think.

MB: What have you learned about yourself since becoming a YouTuber?

EC: I’ve learned that my video style is easily swayed. If I’ve just watched a video by @nguerriero19 and then I record, I’m much more raw and gangster like in my videos. But if I’ve just watching a video by @MissGlamarozzi then I’m happier and spunkier.  I don’t know why.

MB: What advice do you have for someone debating whether or not to start a YouTube channel?

EC: 100% only do videos you would like to see. Otherwise you could come off fake in your videos and no one likes that.

MB:  What are your five beauty must haves?

EC: In order of necessity: mascara, concealer, lip balm or gloss, brow gel & tinted moisturizer.

MB: Who is your favourite Kardashian?

EC: Kim is my favourite but I’d rather Khloe’s life.

MB: How is married life? Had to ask, I’m getting married in July!

EC: It’s the same. Everyone always asks but Bill and I have been together for 6 years now. The only thing that has changed is that kids come up in the conversation a lot more.  I’m the luckiest girl to be able to call Bill my best friend.

MB: What does a typical day look like in the life of Emilie?

EC: I do have a couple of ‘follow me around’ videos on my channel. But usually I wake up, have coffee immediately, watch YouTube videos or TV, work out and go to work.  I don’t have to be at work until 5pm so… it’s a pretty chill day.

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You can get in contact with Emilie via her various social media:

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Thank you again to Emilie for taking the time to do this interview with me.

Merzybean.

Beyonce Bowl

3 Feb

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There really are no words to describe how incredible Beyonce’s Super Bowl Half Time Show performance was. All over Facebook and Twitter, people were joking about the fact that Super Bowl 47 was actually the Beyonce concert and that there was football to go along with it.

Beyonce delivered one hell of a performance. She had incredible choreography, the lighting and use of the stage were out of this world, her killer outfit that was a lace and leather combination, the attitude, and above all- the voice. What an amazing sensory overload that I was more than on board for.

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After President Obama’s Inauguration, there were some people pointing an unnecessary finger at Beyonce. If this performance didn’t put the haters to rest, nothing will.

The reunion of Destiny’s Child brought back many memories of being in elementary school, blasting their CDs and feeling on top of the world. I had goosebumps and had the volume on my TV set really high.

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Beyonce is one of the greatest performer’s of our time. She has a presence on stage that cannot be rivaled by many. I truly believe that this was the best half time show I have ever seen. It will be tough to top, well done Beyonce!

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Merzybean.