Rebranding of a Canadian Icon

yogaFLIGHT on Lululemon’s previous website design

Lululemon launched a whole new design with the rebranding of their website. White vs black. More sleek and vavaVoom, with meaningful bells and whistles that enhance the user experience.

We received an email from the marketing firm who worked on our story for the feature, telling us about the new photo of us online — the photo on the left. WOW! This company continues to surprise us with new poses from our photo shoot, here and there where I least expect, such as on their twitter and facebook pages. What lovely surprises to stumble upon!

  

Live @ Lululemon

What an exhilarating moment … I can’t even express the excitement that I have in the core of my belly right now. It’s kind of like a million butterflies have just taken flight and I am being towed behind them. The sensation: as if I am floating along like a giant weather balloon tethered to a glider plane.

It’s kind of surreal seeing our photos front page and center on the Lululemon website. We knew it was coming, but still. Seeing our faces and bodies for all to see on an international company’s home page is not exactly something we see everyday …. along with millions of other Lululemon enthusiasts. What’s really exciting is the prospects of where yogaFLIGHT may fly to. ‘Cleared for takeoff’ indeed!

Our Lululemon Photo Shoot

It’s been a while since feeling this excited at wanting to pounce out of bed and start my day (our wedding day and Skydiving in to the Blue Hole were both similar in depth and sentiment). An incredible surge of emotion welled within me from the time I opened my eyes … exaggerated and self-indulgent feelings of intrigue, excitement, nervousness, giddiness, blissful happiness, and worry (doubt as to the level of skill and/or connection Lululemon might be hoping or expecting from us) energized my spirit. I felt as if every nerve-ending within my body was electric and on fire. This incredible flowing life-force helped me embrace a sense of complete presence, savouring each and every moment of the day that unfolded. I didn’t want to miss a beat in this day of wonder and adventure.

We both felt incredibly rested … the comfortably sublime bed was a much-needed haven before the ‘storm’. And with some time to spare, we made our way down to the Business Centre to practice some of our more complicated mounts. Unfortunately, when trying a tricky knee balance, that I usually have a spotter for, I fell quite solidly on my wrists, jolting my shoulder. Lesson learned … better to approach the day with a bit more caution and grounding. I was literally flying too high!

The taxi ride to the UBC Boathouse (our location shoot for 8 hours today) was in an ultra-modern Prius. How appropriate! Never one to take taxis, I felt much more comfortable being ferried within an enviro-friendly vehicle. The weather was rather dreary and dark. Typical Vancouver winter weather. However, nothing could dampen my mood, truly! Upon arrival at the UBC Boathouse, I was in awe by the sheer beauty of the space that we were to call our play-space. A gorgeous synergy of wood, aluminum and big bold windows created a fabulous place to be creative in. The beauty of this day … the professionals looked to us for direction and catered to our every need, allowing us to feel at home from the moment we walked through the door. I savoured the camaraderie of our team. The crew was so talented with their individual skills and vision. I could get used to this! 🙂 Yet, I felt completely humbled by the experience. Who was I to be the centre of such attention? It felt surreal and almost out-of-place in my world of self-imposed introversion.

 

Through this whole experience, I’ve learned that everyone deserves the sort of opportunity that we’ve had today. A chance to be recognized, appreciated, pampered, connected with other like-minded souls while doing something that we truly love. That last point is wherein the magic lies. Loving life and what you do can only provide endless amounts of happiness, opportunity and gratitude. Offering our skills and passions to the world is where we excel and find the most gratitude and satisfaction. Care to join us on our next yogaFLIGHT adventure??!

Best Date Ever

It was date night: 1 month shy of our anniversary, but I wanted to make it an all-together different, fun and memorable rendezvous! I’ve been secretly planning this date with my husband for a month now. When I worked with my skydiving buddy Jill at the CNE, she spoke about her friend Peter, who happens to be the owner and Manager at the Jungle Cat World in Orono {just 30 minutes from our home base in Oshawa}. From the moment I heard about this unique privately-owned zoo, I was intrigued. And when I met Peter during one evening stint at the CNE, I was intent on exploring the possibility of a ‘Behind the Scenes‘ tour of the zoo. It sounded fascinating. AND the perfect rendezvous for our mas-iversary (monthly anniversary) date night — next month marks our 10 year anniversary since we first started dating! So in the penultimate of special dates, I surprised my husband with an unforgettable date to the Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park, an excursion that will forever be etched in our memories and hearts.

We engaged in a remarkably playful and fun tour with Head Zoo Keeper Jen Bird. She was fantastic and extremely knowledgable. The love for her job shone through in her enthusiasm and generosity. The baby Cougar (aka Puma / Mountain Lion) Sassy and endangered Amur Tiger at Jungle Cat World were the highlights of our visit. Additionally, we were blessed to also experience the Safari Zoo Camp education evening shared with 20 other grade school students. We were introduced to 10 wild animals of the park. Sassy and Nadine both made an appearance, which was thrilling yet again to see them playful and at home. The evening tour of the big cat feedings was extremely informative and enjoyable. The big cats were so much more active than from our daytime tour. Carl Tordiff was an entertaining young man who is beyond knowledgable and accommodating. Kudos to such an incredible facility far beyond any ‘zoo’ I have ever visited or experienced. An incredible experience that I recommend highly to any folks of all ages. Thank you to Peter Klose for his generosity in letting us visit with the baby cats :). Check them out at their Jungle Cat World website and on Tripadvisor.

 

A Meal to Remember

After slaDE and I picked up an unexpected full size truck cap purchased through a dealer between Elora and Fergus, we made our way for a very special dinner invitation. What an amazing opportunity we were being gifted this evening. slaDE, myself, my Father and his wife Karen were invited to the home of an Amish family (very similar to the Mennonites, in both beliefs and lifestyle) for dinner. My Father has worked with Harvey for many years, and during that time, has established a friendship based on trust and integrity. Last winter, slaDE spent some time getting to know Harvey as well, but tonight was the first time he had met all of the children and their Mother. From my understanding, an extended invitation in to an Amish family’s home is a treat. Being welcomed and offered an evening meal, now that’s a very rare occurrence (if one is not part of their community). And for this, I feel very honoured and blessed. A sparkling moment in my memory bank that I will not soon forget.

Harvey and his wife Verna have 10 children, from the ages of 19 years to 6 months of age: Catherine, Calvin, Wayne, Nathan, Paul, Julie-Ann, Judy-Lynn, Norman, Jason and Arnold – 7 boys and 3 girls. Of course, being the avid photographer that I am, I was thoroughly entranced by the simplistic beauty that they called their home. Very little decoration existed in their simple house, yet they happily subsist with the basic comforts of living. My basic and their essential standards are quite different. An Amish lifestyle does not include the comforts of electricity. So imagine this: no computers, television, lights, phones, or appliances. The wood stove helped to take the edge of chill from the air and a Naptha gas lamp was used once the darkness started to settle. A lovely glow surrounded the table as all the children looked on in awe at these unique strangers in their home. After an amazing and delicious meal was consumed with the peal of lavish conversation and much laughter, slaDE pulled out his laptop, showing the family some footage from our skydive and scuba adventure in to the Blue Hole in Belize. I’m not even sure if the kids have ever seen a laptop, let alone any skydiving footage. I’m thinking that we opened some marvellous doors in the imagination of the children and adults if revealed by the vibrancy of their captivated faces. As the glow of the lamp lit up each other shining faces, I looked on in wonderment at their glowing iridescent faces, entranced by the whole experience of that moment. It was truly an amazing experience to share with them.

I understand that the taking of photographs is not considered appropriate by the Amish or Mennonite tradition. In fact, posing for a photograph is discouraged by their religion as it is seen by many of their faith as an act of vanity. So I respected their beliefs but managed to capture one photo of the evening. The smell, sound and sight of the Naphtha lamp intrigued me. After a quick photo was taken, we left them with some of my cubby hole cleanse donations that I thought might be useful for their family. Hope you enjoy my small window into their world.

A Day of Wonder

A busy wonderful day spent with Maureen and Ardy: a decadently healthy breakfast fit for a King, slaDE initiating Maureen to the wonders of yogaFLIGHT, passing an hour at The Five Tibetans yoga studio (with the whole place to myself!), lunching at the Atrium in Waterloo with Maureen and her two medical friends, garage sale hunting (and of course, I only bought that which I could see useful in the Airstream, nothing more), exploring some of the new developing parts of Waterloo and finally a farewell as I was delivered with care to our friend’s place in Elora. A gorgeous sunny day that ended with the most momentous of sunsets over the Elora Gorge (Lover’s Leap).

 

I love exploring new towns and villages, camera in hand and perpetually at the ready, especially when such photogenic landmarks hold prevalent nature’s beauty and an environmental consciousness not often seen.

The Artist Resides Everywhere

I awoke bright and early, wanting to capture the first glimpses of a sunrise, sun peaking above the ocean horizon. Fisherman waited patiently hoping to catch some tasty delights. A walk south along the beach filled my morning, discovery upon discovery stirring the awe-struck photographer within me. Exotic flowers filled my nostrils with glorious scent, vibrant colours provided a rich canvas from which to frame my vision; a 3 story bird viewing platform held spectacular perspective of the Coconut Palms and Sea Almond Trees from above; a pre-wedding setup on the beach thrilled the romantic in me; bicycles and people fascinated my artistic senses. A kaleidoscope of colour and beauty. All before 10am. Today we welcomed the next crew of skydivers, this time from Europe, invited and organized by Bruno Brokken, Gaby Meis and Regan Tetlow. A much smaller crowd, making for more unique activities and intimate events as planned for by Rich. We were both looking forward to participating with the crowd, when there was room on the plane. Another fabulous advantage to us staying longer at the Boogie. I am so grateful that we opted to vacation as long as we did. We decided to explore south of the landing area, towards town, by foot rather than water taxi, allowing for a more complete picture of the true Belizean lifestyle here on San Pedro.

After lunch we spent some time visiting with the Sunbreeze Hotel’s resident artist Christopher Emmanuel. He’s an amazingly talented painter and author. His shop is filled with fabulous images colourfully represented on canvas, and specifically, I loved his commissioned work of skydivers jumping in to the Blue Hole whilst capturing the underwater aspect of the dive. I felt very honoured when he granted me permission to photograph him working on this original piece.

New Orleans Adventures

Arising early in the morning to catch photographic trails of the rising sun is, in my books, well worth the efforts. With last nights sunset, I couldn’t help but think that today’s sunrise would be just as magical on digital ‘film’. Disappointed, I was not! Beyond the manicured short stretch of beach near the casino lay a fenced off area that hid the remnants of previous storms and strewn out garbage. Shells of all shapes and sizes littered the sand as did residual garbage washed or cast ashore … plastic and glass bottles, old tires, plastic bags, PVC piping encrusted with barnacles, weathered rope, a tattered blanket, an old fan blade and metal shards of pipe et al.

With 45 minutes to explore the area around the casino, we chose to tour the St. Michael Parish Catholic Church, otherwise known as the Fisherman’s Church. In my opinion, this Church is the most beautiful and inspiring architectural masterpiece in a cathedral with such incredible stained glass. Reflections of grandeur indeed. “St. Michael’s has served the people of Biloxi’s Point since it was established as a mission in 1907. Ravaged by the two most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the Gulf of Mexico, Camille in August of 1969, and Katrina in August of 2005, St. Michael Church has stood 200 mile per hour winds and a 28 foot tidal surge.” Today this unique cylindrical church with it’s clam-like shell roof still stands, celebrating Biloxi’s once thriving fishing industry (which post-Katrina is now pretty much non-existent) whilst also symbolizing the strength, resiliency, dedication, faithfulness and struggle of this parish’s devout Catholic families. With the storms came devastation to the Church’s structure. The bottom two panels of stained glass were wiped out with Katrina’s 30-foot storm surge that washed through the bottom third of the round church, and only in the last year have they been replaced, on a pulley system, which allows for the windows to be raised if another storm surge were to come through and knock out the windows. A volunteer worker from Ohio was telling me that the force of the tsunami busted up the pews and sucked them out. The pews disappeared … there was no sign of them whatsoever. The restoration of St. Michael Catholic Church in East Biloxi is nearly complete, from the repair of its 36 columns of distinctive scalloped roof to the replacement of the bottom portion of the Church’s stained glass windows. The stained glass panels carry a recurring theme: that of the sea, depicting both men and women gathering their catch in nets.

With New Orleans being only an 85 mile drive away from Biloxi, we packed up quick and made route for our next destination. New Orleans |ˈôrlinz; ôrˈlēnz|:a city and port in southeastern Louisiana, on the Mississippi River; pop. 484,674. Founded by the French in 1718, it was named after the Duc d’Orléans, regent of France. It is known for its annual Mardi Gras celebrations and for its association with the development of blues and jazz.

Check-in time for the French Quarter RV Resort was 12 noon, and we wanted to make the most of our available time touring the city. With the success we had in cycling around Savannah Georgia and discovering the heart of the city with limited daylight hours, we wanted to experience New Orleans in the same way. So after setting up shop in our beautifully groomed RV slot in the French Quarter, we hopped on our bicycles and headed for the action and music. Within 6 blocks, we discovered a plethora of unique and colourful street performers …. musicians, statuesque live mannequins (literally, human statues standing perfectly still, mid-motion beside a bucket for tips of any sort), singers and dancers, magicians, psychics, palm and tarot card readers. Horse drawn carriages, souvenir shops, ‘gentlemen’ bars, genre-wide music clubs and ‘3 for 1’ discos lined the streets of downtown New Orleans, vying for the tourist dollars which seemingly help to keep this city afloat after Hurricane Katrina. A sense of quiet despondency seemingly filled the musical air at times, while at other moments, a sense of hope and strength flourished with the colour and vibrancy of this legendary city. Alcohol and music is the main theme of this 24-7 party town: 3 for 1 drink specials abound alongside frozen daiquiris dispensary bars — think 7-11 alcoholic slushy dispensers of a gazillion different flavours. About 15 years ago, I was lucky enough to experience the New Orleans Jazz Festival with a crew of skydiving friends. It was an amazing cultural experience, but very different from what I imagine Mardi Gras to be — if it’s anything like the experience of Bourbon Street :). I can’t imagine the craziness of Mardi Gras after experiencing how important alcohol is in creating the dynamism of the ‘Big Easy’.

Trying to absorb as much as possible, we weaved and surged through the streets (so many one way roadways), stopping to listen, watch and photograph. I was in heaven with the canvas before me. Impossible to recreate such beauty and dynamic energy, so I snapped away as if this were the last moment to live on earth. Fire stoked my peddle strokes as we skirted the Garden District, circling through Audubon Park and wobbling back through the narrow busy pot-holed streets of  Magazine Street. Darkness had fallen quickly, and without our headlights or reflective vests, we opted to head back to the RV Resort before exploring the nightly music scene. It was on Charles Street that we literally bumped in to a marching band (numbering maybe 50 musicians?) in full regalia. What was most surprising was the sound and their sole sudden appearance, seemingly with no apparent reason. They were their own parade, with numerous followers gathering suit to line the streets of the ‘Vieux Carré’. The hip hop / big band music magnified off the narrow streets of the French Quarter like a ping-pong ball on steroids, and my earbuds felt alive with the giant reverberation of their colourful performance. A different sensation of aliveness fell true and centre. The experience was earth-shaking in its intensity and happiness.

After relieving ourselves of some belongings, trading for the requisite safety garb, we headed towards Frenchmen Street — this is the ‘it’ scene for locals and music supreme. We wandered from club to club, catching the luxury of guaranteed quality music of a varietal assortment of genres. We stayed for a while at the ‘Spotted Cat Music Club’ savouring the earthy and light jazzy blues tones of Miss Sophie Lee. It so happens that a large Canadian contingency packed the bar as we enjoyed a few drinks while absorbing the scene and musical greatness. Truly lovely.

Before heading home, we made one last loop down the length of Bourbon Street, captivated by the alcohol frenzied happiness which bounced off the vibrating fluorescent lights. New Orleans is one happy cat city on the surface when the tourists are out in full force.

P.S. For those curious about staying at the French Quarter RV Resort during Mardi Gras, these are the prices for 2011 (and they are usually booked almost up to a year in advance for this time period):

  • 2 night minimum stay: 2 days = $199 per day; 3 days = $179 per day; 4 days = $159 per day; 5 days = $139 per day

Star Fish Company

Every day, staying with Patrick and Ann, is an adventure and outing. Today, the fog had rolled in thick like pea soup. A perfect day to explore the length of Lido Key beach. Hardly a soul in sight as we combed this fine white sandy beach. The wind caressed our faces, the waves and our hair as we delighted in the company of friends. But as with fresh and exercise, our appetites were frenzied by the end of our stroll. A perfect time to explore the delights of the Star Fish Company in Cortez (about 30 minutes north of Sarasota)!

What an experience that was … not only was the seafood divine of this fisherman’s dockside restaurant, but the view was spectacular, the quality of food superb and the prices extraordinarily reasonable. Birds of every colour and kind stayed within feet of any potential fishy leftovers or garbage that strayed their way. Customers were strongly warned that feeding of any wildlife would result in possible criminal prosecution. However, if that didn’t prevent a brazen seagull from flying up to slaDE and literally grabbing the food from slaDE~s fingers as he was about to put a french fry in his mouth. I’d say that they’re a bit too fearless and domesticated for their own good. Poor slaDE~. The look of horror on his face was enough to have us rolling on the pier with laughter.

I photographed and explored the fresh seafood market, marvelling at the magnificent quality and inexpensive price of all that fresh Gulf seafood. YummY! Of course, we couldn’t resist taking home some giant prawns for a meal for tomorrow. Whoa, I need a nap after all that good food and fresh air!

Beaches and stuff

Two days in a row! What to do when it’s windy and non-skydiveable in Florida? Why throw an Aerobie around and then head to the beach, of course!

Clearwater Beach with Patrick and Tom Calandra was the choice for today’s adventure. Unexpectedly, the winds by the ocean were calm and warm. A gorgeous afternoon to sit, have an late lunch, then beach-comb along the butter-like white fine sandy beach for cool shells and photo opportunities. Several powered paragliders swooped the shore, whilst the sun danced in the sky. We sauntered along Pier 60, toying with the giant Pelicans and Blue Heron as they perched unabashedly close, in search of treats perhaps. No fear of us humans whatsoever! I was in photographer’s paradise with the skies painted a blazing orange and yellow canvas for our backdrop. Heaven on earth indeed.