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SF/Bay Area photo diary pt.1

Above, the soaring trees of Big Basin Redwoods State Park 

Ah yes, I'm still in vacation mode.  I've been culling through the piles of images I shot playing with the new Canon 7D MarkII, which yielded great results.  But sometimes the good old iPhone 6 worked out just fine when the DSLR wasn't on me and produced equally good shots.  So this post (the outdoorsy/nature post) and part two (the city-ish post) of the photo diary will be a mix of the two cameras and astute viewer can likely spot the difference.

A lone windblown tree at Davenport Beach

The pier at Capitola Beach

       Big Sur coming up...
All the superlatives you've ever heard about driving along SR1/Pacific Coast Highway and its epic stunning amazingness are all true.  I couldn't get enough of the view and I was completely mind-bloggled at the many mailboxes and driveways entrances that lined the west side of the highway.  People live down there!? WTF?  I sent out a wish to the universe for a dinner invitation to one of these homes during the short time we would spend down in Big Sur.  Alas, this wish did not come true.  As we were driving back from the Esalen hot springs at 3am blissed out on minerals, our little rental vehicle struck a rock of misjudged size and was promptly ripped of its oil pan.  Major buzzkill.   Thank goodness for insurance.

Onwards to the north...
Driving north on California 1 from San Francisco we headed to Muir Woods. We took a crazy winding detour on the Panoramic Highway, a narrow cliff hugging road that led us to Stinson Beach as alas, the Muir Beach access was closed.  We went back south on the 1 with more twists and turns towards our lunch at the Pelican Inn before heading into the woods.  We saw more epic trees and filled our lungs with delicious oxygenated air. 

Having not been to the West coast since I was a very small child (so I don't think it really counts), I have to say you Californians are SPOILED for intense natural beauty! Oh, and great weather.  I'm having serious denial problems about being back to the cold.



I was in the San Francisco bay area for a couple of weeks and all I have to show for it is a bunch of charcoal.
Ah, but this is not just any charcoal, behold Binchotan charcoal!  This white charcoal (even though it looks black) is of Japanese origin and boasts not only low temperature cooking heat while burning, but purifying properties which have made Binchotan a desirable material in a whole slew of products.  This brings back memories of treating food poisoning/mystery stomach bugs with charcoal tablets in Thailand-awesome!
Here's what came home with me:

1. Binchotan toothbrush by Morihata
Morihata makes a range of Binchotan based products and I picked up their toothbrush. Ok, I'm a charcoal newbie and this toothbrush is promising to refresh and revitalize my mouth-even before the toothpaste hits the charcoal blended bristles.  Very exciting.

2.  Binchotan charcoal sticks by black + blum
I'm going to use these to purify and filter my tap water into delicious, free urban nectar, but these sticks can also be used to deodorize rooms/shoes, has cooking uses, and when its lifespan is over the charcoal can be used as fertilizer.

3. Deitanseki Soap (clay and charcoal facial cleansing bar from Nippon Kodo
The woman who rang up my purchase raved about this soap transforming her skin (which was pretty awesome by the way).  The packaging lists "carbon powder" and not Binchotan as the charcoal ingredient, if there's a difference, I would not be able to identify that just yet.  Wait til I get my hands on some Binchotan soap...

Bonus SF shopping thoughts:
photo: Miansai

This bracelet: The Miansai screw cuff.  I spotted it, tried it on and fell in love the first day in SF meandering the Mission District.  I catalogued it in my brain and kept wandering.  The next day, while strolling only a handful of blocks on Hayes street in Hayes Valley, I kept seeing the identical selections of Miansai jewelry over and over in the various shops I would pop into!  To be fair, I spotted recurrences of similar selections of Giles & Brother, Erica Weiner, and Catbird but no joke-on the same side of the SAME BLOCK lo and behold THREE shops carried similar selections of Miansai.  Their sales rep had a field day in Hayes Valley!

Now that I got that off my chest, I can say that the retail experience in SF was pretty awesome. Great conceptual stores, good merchandising, and definitely more focused on "lifestyle" shopping.  Get your apparel, your personal care products, a bowl for your cereal and a book for the road.  Be done with it.


Holiday Gift Guide Cadeau

With the holidays right around the corner, there is certainly last minute gift shopping taking place in full frenzy in the shops and online.
In case you haven't sorted out all your pressies for your family and your besties may I point you towards the 2014 holiday gift guides from ELLE Canada and ELLE Québec that I had loads of fun/stress-filled pleasure to research, edit and style.

As you can see it's a bit of same/same but different-spot the differences if you feel so intrepid.
While I love all the pages, I have a soft spot for the all black/all white mood shot, with a particular jonesing for those matte black ester & erik candles...just in case you were curious.

Joyeuses fêtes!


Tour de Bloc - New Kid on the Bloc

climber: Karine Gervais

In November Bloc Shop hosted a competition in the 12th season of Tour de Bloc's Canadian bouldering series' eastern division.  Yours truly was asked to capture the very photogenic sport-for my first time ever.  Taking up the task, I contacted seasoned climbing photographer François Lebeau for some sensei-like advice.  Over omelettes at Brooklyn Label Lebeau and I discussed lighting situations, shooting etiquettes and PocketWizards, filling my head with trepidation and antici...pation

 climber L: Florent Balsez R: Eveline Lapierre

climber: Sue Brumm

 climber: Marc-Antoine Vigneault

 climber: Clarrie Lam

climber: Ayo Sopeju

climber: Florent Balsez

While I had a couple of technical difficulties, I am pleased to say that I got a chalk-covered handful of images I was happy with. Whoo! Check out the whole series on Bloc Shop's Facebook page.


press days - SS15

A dear friend's four-year-old child came up with the wonderful term of "goose-boobs." It's meaning is when you have goose bumps, goose flesh or cutis anserina (if you want to get all technical) on your breasts.  And as the temperature drops, I am definitely suffering of goose-boobs.

I've been doing the rounds of showrooms and reconnecting face-to-face with the lovely PR and marketing gurus around town for spring/summer15 collections and yearning already for summer-or spring! Why don't we just skip winter for one year?

The above image (right) was taken during a cozy presentation by the Michael Kors team.  Somehow the flowers are the only image that survived a hasty phone clean-up.  Fortunately that black calf Bradshaw sandal from the SS15 lookbook is giving me something to look forward to as my toes will remain bundled until at least April.


artUnion-Spotlight on the Arts14

It started at the QPAT in 2013, a first-time outing in a collaborative art project that began its life centred around themes with a difficult-to-conceive on the spot drawing component.  One year later artUnion decided to submit a proposal for this year's teachers conference, with a significant change to the focus.  A shift was made from thematic images to biographical, where the students carried out the research for their assigned figure of historical or current importance.
Holy moly, what a difference it made!
We (a group of artists) were so pleased to facilitate this project and look forward to bringing it to schools in the upcoming new year. Art Ed! Whoo!



Égrégore at Galérie d'Art Yves Laroche was a jam packed crazy confluence of all sorts of styles, artists, mediums and messages.  And somehow it all worked together: the lowbow, the pop surrealism, the graffiti or street art influenced and the classically trained brought forth a dynamic show that will be on Yves Laroche's walls until the 20th of December.
Click on the photo above to learn about the word "égrégore" or to marvel at the insane work of AJ Fosik's Nighttide for Idols (2012)

I checked out the show during the opening and will share a handful of faves here, but the show is massive! Worth an in-person visit, unless you can't make it/feeling lazy you can check out the online visit and start picking out works that will look great above your sofa.

Whoa! Upon walking into the gallery Dave Cooper's bronze Crittergirl (2014) is the first work that greets you.

Two beauties by Miss Van: Diablada (2014) and Lady Blue (2014)

Jeff Soto's Man (2014)

Ok, this piece isn't from Égrégore, but from the adjacent gallery Lacerte, whose space we ambled through during the opening.  Jean-Robert Drouillard's Mini Love Louve (2014) is barely a foot tall and was sitting on the floor.  I crouched down trying to take this image, causing another art reveler to almost trip over me.  Art party!

Back to the show! The insane awesome cardboard sculpture work of Laurence Vallières

Liam Barr's Wed to the Wheel (2014)

An Immaculate Conception (2014) by artist and friend Kevin Ledo.  I've had the pleasure of sharing gallery wall space with Ledo in the past and have seen his work evolve over the years, but still remaining distinct in his figurative style. We chatted about this evolution and getting ethereal with gold foil.

Regarding your new works (Arsenal, Yves Laroche, Muralfest) portraiture always remains strong and present and dominantly women, but recently you have integrated elderly faces and men, where did this direction come from?

I never really planned this progression, though I've been wanting to explore some new subjects and themes. Once I began painting murals I found that it was the perfect outlet for it.

The use of gold foil is consistent in your work and it first appeared as glowing halos in your Guiding Light (2006-10) series.  How has the use of the foil evolved and what does it represent to you now?

It still represents an ethereal energy in my recent work.  It is still speaking some of the same language that it did for me in older paintings, though it's not literally a halo anymore.

Any words you can share about you work in Égrégore?

That piece, like most of my recent work, wasn't planned to convey any particular idea before I began working on it.  I just went on feeling and a vague direction and then began understanding what it was about more and more as it progressed.  I titled it "An Immaculate Conception" because it seemed to me that that was what it was about.  There is a clear religious reference there, and the fact that it's "An Immaculate Conception" and not "The Immaculate Conception" plays with ideas surrounding Christian beliefs and how similar story lines were told in religions before Christianity existed."

Voilà, a little art insight for the day.  
These works and so much more on Yves Laroche's walls until December 20th.