Category Archives: Personal & Family

Desire Mapping Workshop with Courtney Sinclair


On Sunday I spent an incredible day with 7 other wonderful women doing something called Desire Mapping. Let me tell you. It made me realize some things – HARD.

La Grange B&B - Desire Map Workshop

If you’ve never heard of Desire Mapping, you need to get on the interwebs and google this shit. The workshop is based on the book The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. The concept taught in this book is that in life, contrary to what we’ve always been told, you aren’t actually chasing goals. You are in fact, chasing the feeling that achieving your goal will bring you. So in order to feel truly fulfilled and successful, you must first define how you want to feel and make your decisions based around that. Nothing hokey, overly spiritual or weird. The basic idea is that you simply work towards setting your life up in such a way that it’s not just about the destination, but the journey as well. The pursuit of your goal should feel just as good as attaining it.



I know, right?

When I really sit and think about it, it seems pretty obvious. How many times have we all heard some variation of the phrase “Life should be about the journey as much as the destination”? I think as humans at our core, we get this concept. We already know it’s about the feeling. But our world it set up in such a way that we become so easily distracted. We let others influence how we feel, what we think, what we need and what we should do with our lives. Everyone from the media to our parents to friends, to acquaintances on Facebook. It derails so many of us, myself included. We get so caught up in the things we think we should be doing and achieving and we start forgetting what we want. What we need. And we lose touch with how we really want to feel.

The workshop I attended took place at the gorgeous La Grange B&B in beautiful Wakefield, Quebec. As we sat in a beautiful third floor yoga studio surrounded be nature, we started taking turns going around the circle, introducing ourselves. As each woman spoke, I think most of us drew some parallels in their words with our own lives and experiences. The similarities between myself and the other women surprised me. Nearly everyone fought back tears as they recounted painful memories, reasons they are struggling and all of the successes and joys that keep them going day to day. It was a very moving thing to witness. It was then that I realized that perhaps I am not alone in my own struggles and sensitivities. That was huge for me. I think many of us navigate this world surrounded by people but feel really alone a lot of the time. But we’re not alone. We’re really not.

As the day progressed we began to dig a bit deeper into the course material and discussed gratitude, as well as some of the ways that our current life and circumstances are working for us, and how they aren’t. What this ends up boiling down to after several hours of deep discussion, meditation and self-reflection via the Desire Map Workbook, is the determining of your 3-5 Core Desired Feelings. The Core Desired Feelings are unique to each individual and they are the feelings that you are and should be purposefully chasing in life. Mine are:

My Core Desired Feelings


As I started writing these things out throughout our exercises, I began to notice that these 5 things seemed to be the common thread through every area of my life. In my case, these words don’t necessarily mean what they mean in their literal sense. For example, Freedom doesn’t mean I’m going to ditch my life and move to Australia without a care in the world. For me in this sense, Freedom means freedom from anxiety, depression, financial freedom , freedom in my career, creative freedom, freedom to travel and freedom of spirit. Infinite for me means abundance in all things. I want to have infinite energy, patience, health, wealth, happiness, love, sympathy and curiosity.

Now that I have identified my Core Desired Feelings, the idea is to keep them in my mind when making decisions going forward. It will be interesting to see how things unfold. The best part is, they are never set in stone. As life changes, as my own needs change, as I age, I may find that certain core desired feelings no longer resonate with me. At that time, I can re-assess and re-focus on how I want to feel.

Our facilitator for this course was Courtney Sinclair (say hello to her via Facebook or her website!). If you have the opportunity to meet her and take one of her Desire Map Workshops – you totally should. Courtney truly believes in the Desire Mapping process with her whole heart and that totally came through in her words and actions. During the workshop she created an environment where I felt completely relaxed, supported and free from judgement. Exactly how I’d hoped to feel when discussing such life-changing stuff!

Courtney Sinclair - Desire Map Facilitator

A few more photos from our day:

Desire Map workshop


Happy 2015!

I can’t even express how thrilled I am that the holidays are over. This year it was a whirl wind. Our family hosted several get togethers this year in our new home and while it was fantastic to be able to finally show this place off, our grocery bills have been through the roof, our house is upside down and our routine has been totally off. It was like a little gift to myself to see the kids off to school today. I am really enjoying the quiet and am glad to get back to get back on track with the healthy meal planning!

I’m not big into resolutions but this year I do have a few things I’d like to set some intentions for. Firstly, I’d like to try and get running again. Key word here is try. The last time I declared myself a runner I promptly injured my hip in such a way that has given me intermittent low back/hip pain for the last 2.5 years on my right side. Now that things seem to be on the upswing with that, I’d like to give it another go. My intent is not to force myself to run any great distance or speed too quickly. Ultimately I just want to be able to do it without pain. Even if that means my ‘running’ more closely resembles a waddle for now.

The second thing I’d like to do is figure out my plans for the future. Those close to me know that I am still bitching and whining about what the hell I actually want to do with my life career wise. I love photography, and it will always be a part of my life in some form. But I can’t shake the feeling that I am meant to do something different with my time. The issue is that I can’t seem to commit. There are always lots of ideas floating around out there but nothing I’ve felt that I could throw my whole self into 100%. So this year I really want start zeroing in on some life plans and finally start taking the steps to accomplish it this year.

Most of all my plan this year is to just be kinder to myself. This will probably be the hardest challenge of all. Nick and I took on a lot of incredibly heavy things at a very young age. Marriage, his job that has sometimes demanded more of him than I am willing to give, my own business, one international adoption and one domestic older child adoption – all within about a 5-6 year time span. And while I wouldn’t change any aspect of my family or life for anything, I also recognize that the situations we have found ourselves in over the past several years have sometimes been so challenging that I’ve put my own mental, emotional and physical health on the back burner just to make it through the day. So I’d like 2015 to be the year that I allow myself to live life a little less urgently. To continue on a path of self discovery but not in such a way that I feel like shit if I’m not accomplishing huge, wonderful, meaningful things all the damn time.
Bring on 2015! 🙂

The Studio (so far)!

Once upon a time, this hobbiest food photographer had to use her living room coffee table as her ‘studio’ for food photography. Yes, 2 feet away from the glow of my kids watching TV. And yes, I often shot with one hand on the camera and the other hand swatting away two hungry pugs. But at the time it was all I had. Our little townhouse was not ideal in many ways. But we made due.

I always dreamed of having a space I could use solely for food photography but assumed it was never in the cards. Truthfully, the whole idea was very indulgent. I even felt selfish wishing for it. Ottawa is an expensive city to live in. I knew we would eventually ‘move on up’ but figured we’d only ever be able to afford to buy something comfortable. Never a place with EXTRA space. But here it is. My formal-living-room-turned-studio. I have a big beautiful window that lets in all kinds of glorious natural light. Gleaming hard wood floors, enough wall space for my growing prop collection and eventually a funky sofa or something. It’s a work in progress decor wise, but it’s mine.

The amount of gratitude I feel to call this place home is immeasurable. This studio was just icing on the cake in an otherwise fantastic situation.

Food Photography Studio