2012: Onward and Upward

Instead of jumping right into resolutions for 2012, I am first going to take a look back at 2011. Not in hindsight, mind you, but rather to reflect on the things I was proud of in 2011, and to set goals on what I can think about improving on for the year to come. Hat tip to my friend Carol Kelley for this one!

In 2011, I took a photography course to get more comfortable behind the lens. Something that I’m very glad I did, but in recent months, I haven’t been taking too many photos. So, for 2012, I plan to take many more, to try and hone my craft just a little more.

As usual, in 2011, I ran the Vancouver Sun Run with my Mom, and our trusty running partners/good friends Leslie and Danica, like we do every year. I also ran the Times Colonist 10K in Victoria with my Mom, my aunts and my cousins (The Behan B*tches, as we like to call ourselves). It was a short, but fun, trip. Both runs I completed in under 50 minutes. In 2012, I will most definitely do the Sun Run again, but I’m hoping for a time under 49 min. I would also like to run a half marathon. It’s a sure-fire way to stay in shape, if I have something to train for.

In March, I went snowboarding in Whistler on my 29th birthday, with some of my closest friends. It was a day to remember, for sure. This year, I turn 30. (Eeep!) I’m not quite sure what I would like to do to celebrate this year, BUT, I do know I want to get in many more days of snowboarding before the snow melts. Mt. Baker, anyone?

This year, I also got more involved with the Vancouver Tech Community, through working with InitioGroup and Bootup. I loved every minute of it, as I always feel inspired when surrounded by smart people doing amazing things. I hope to stay involved, and to go to more tech events this year.

This past summer, I was once again a bridesmaid, in my dear friend Diana’s wedding. We’ve known each other since we were 5 years old, and have stayed great friends for almost 25 years. That’s an accomplishment in itself! I also planned her bachelorette party, which was held in Tofino, BC. It may not be the most solid thing to be proud of on this list, but everyone who came had such a great time, and everything went off without a hitch. I couldn’t believe it. A bachelorette party – where everyone involved had to travel to get there – and no drama. Just some girls, getting along, surfing, (oh, 1st time surfing!) and having a blast. Nice work, team.


bradyclarkephotography.com

2011 also marks the first time I have ever been an MC at a wedding! Now THAT I was proud of. I didn’t even crap my pants. No seriously, though, it was fantastic, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. As long as I get to do with my co-MC, eh Jerra?

There are also a few other personal “resolutions” that I have for myself, that I plan on keeping throughout 2012. I’m hoping, anyway! (Some hints: career, travel, fitness)

What are you proud of from the past year? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? In any case, here’s to bigger and better in 2012!

Urbandig’s Locavore Tour with Anthony Nicalo, CEO of Foodtree

On Friday, August 19 (on Day 3 of Grow Conference), I joined Anthony Nicalo, the CEO of Foodtree, on his “Locavore” tour for the Urbandig iPhone App, along with about 10 other hungry individuals, to experience some unpretentious, but gourmet food, in and around Gastown, Chinatown, and Railtown.

I must disclose that I am a bit biased in thinking that Urbandig is ridiculously awesome (you can download the app for free HERE), because I was lucky enough to work with the masterminds behind it for the past few months. You can read more about the app here. And if you try it out and love it, I’m sure they would appreciate a quick review from you, too!


Our crew roaming the streets of Gastown.

This was my first tour experience using the Urbandig app, and it was absolutely fantastic. All of the restaurants and cafes we visited were so accommodating, and the food we ate along the way was world class. This post will be a bit photo-rich, but it’s the only way to convey how superbly gluttonous this tour was.

Here we go.

Stop #1. Save On Meats

twitter: @saveonmeats

We had the breakfast poutine. It’s like most poutines, except it has a poached egg on top. It’s far more tasty than you would expect. We had the half order, since our day was going to be filled with other rich and delicious food, and this was just the tip of the iceberg.

We were also given a full tour of the Save On building, which not only includes the diner and the deli next door, but FOUR floors of amazingness. Walk-in ovens, ice cream machines, a resident artist, as well as a meat service and a linen service for surrounding businesses in Gastown. Incredible.

Stop #2. Everything Cafe

twitter: @everythingcafe

At Everything Cafe, we stopped for a quick Stumptown Macchiato. If you’re a fan, or if you have not yet tried Portland’s popular roast, try it here. You won’t be disappointed. It was also the perfect little pick-me-up to continue on the rest of the tour.

Stop #3. Big Lou’s Butcher Shop

twitter: @biglousbutcher

Here at Big Lou’s, we talked to the owner, who gave us some background and history on the shop, and they made us a Banh Mi sandwich, which we ate at their quaint bistro down the street, “Two Chefs and a Table,” which is owned by the same 2 chefs as Big Lou’s. We may have also had a beer. It was hot out. I should also add – I think this was my favourite stop. I am now forever a fan of Banh Mi.

Stop #4. The Irish Heather

twitter: @theirishheather

Steak pot pie and a Guiness. I don’t know if you can get any more Irish than that. Or more stuffed. Simple and delicious. I honestly wish I could have eaten more.

Stop #5. Meat and Bread

twitter: @1meatandbread

As if we weren’t full enough already, the next stop was at Meat and Bread. But not for your typical sandwich. No, we had a Maple Bacon Ice Cream Sandwich, made with real Canadian maple syrup and local happy-pig bacon ice cream. Soooo yummy. (P.S. The view behind the counter isn’t too shabby either. You’ll notice that there are a lot of women eating here at lunch time, and I don’t think it’s the carbs that they’re after.)

Stop #6. Salt Tasting Room

twitter: @salttastingroom

At least at this point, we got a bit of a break. Our next stop was Salt, where we sampled a taste of some locally cured meats and cheeses. I had the Chevre (goat cheese) with Apricots, and Con Aglio (salami) with Piccalilli Relish. We also sampled some BC wine, La Frenz from Naramata. The Manager at Salt came and spoke to our table, and told us a little about what we were eating and drinking. I loved the personal touch everywhere we went.

Stop #7. Judas Goat

twitter: @thejudasgoat

A few short hops down Blood Alley, and we came to Judas Goat. Apparently they have the best selection of sherry in Vancouver, so of course we had to try some. We also had some pinxtos (tapas-style dishes), which I was unable to eat because of my silly allergy. If I could have, I would have eaten it all. Clams and mussels. They looked heavenly. I dug into the haricots verts, though. I loved the vibe at Judas Goat.

Stop #8. The Diamond

twitter: @gastowndiamond

If you’re looking for a place with great cocktails, Diamond is the place. They even run a bartending school by day. They take their cocktails pretty seriously. We had something called the Water Buffalo. I don’t remember what was in it, but it was refreshing, to say the least. They also served us a Nicoise Salad. Anthony’s tip was to choose from either the food menu or the cocktail menu, but not both, and ask for a pairing from the other. You just have to be wiling to try something new.

Ultimately, this is what the tour was all about. For many of us, we hadn’t tried out some of these places, or if we had, we got to try something on the menu that we probably never would have ordered.

I’m not a very fussy eater. Once upon a time I was, and I think I was just missing out on way too much. This day, filled with some of the best food and drink I’ve experienced in a long time, paired with the most excellent company, was a very, very memorable day. So thank you, to Urbandig, and to Anthony of Foodtree, for opening up my eyes a little wider, and exposing me to just SOME of the gems that Vancouver has to offer.

Why I Love HootSuite (And Why I Want to Work There)

I love HootSuite. And if you use social media and don’t already love them too, you WILL.

I use HootSuite, along with many of the “geeks” I know, to manage my different social media accounts, but I mainly use it for Twitter and Facebook Pages. So, I thought I’d throw together a totally unordered, no-ulterior-motives-at-all list of what makes them awesome, and why I love them.

Home-grown

HootSuite is Vancouver born and bred, by the smart people at Invoke Media.

Learning

HootSuite University. HootSuite Training? Webinars? If you’re a social media noob, this is for you. But hey, even us seasoned professionals can use a little training now and again, too.

Feedback

They are always trying to make HootSuite better. That’s pretty great, isn’t it? And who better to listen to, than the people who use it?

Owly

The HootSuite Mascot. He’s adorable. And have you seen all of the International Owly mascots, or just the ones in different guises?

It’s a toss-up, but I think my two all-time faves are: Hawaiian Owly and Snowboarder Owly. Here’s hoping I see Owly at Hootup one day soon.

Connecting

Guys like Dave Olson and Ryan Holmes. If you are going to a tech conference in the near future, chances are you are going to see at least one of these guys speak. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to see Holmes speak, but I’ve been fortunate enough to see Olson speak at a few different events, and he is like no other speaker I’ve ever seen. Sometimes he even brings a bag (or suitcase) full of tricks!

Their Office

I haven’t been to it, but I’ve seen a few pictures of it. I love the mural in the entry way.

Hootsuite Office

Photo by sandkat on Flickr.

I think I want to ride my bike there. Every. Day. And hang out with all of the other Owls. (Are you picking up what I’m dropping down?)

Well, that’s it. There are a million other reasons I could mention that make HootSuite awesome, like secure profilesauto-initialing for accounts with multiple users, or the reply-all function for Twitter, but this list was way more fun. And why spoil the surprise, when you can learn about all those things at HootSuite University?

Thanks for reading,

^JB

(All Owly images are from http://blog.hootsuite.com/)

Public Speaking Isn’t So Bad After All

It’s been a very long time since I last had to do a presentation in front of people, either at school, or at work. I used to have to do them all the time, not that I enjoyed it one bit.

I go to a lot of conferences, or “unconferences” in Vancouver, but I have never built up the courage to stand up in front of people and just TALK. No way, no how.

So when my friend Brianna asked me (along with my good friend Jerra) to emcee her upcoming wedding, I thought, erm…. well… okay. Because this was different. People didn’t expect me to be an expert on something, and I didn’t have to wow them with my research, or my opinion on some obscure topic. Being a Master of Ceremonies (or Mistress, rather?) is pretty simple, since the itinerary is laid out in advance, and in full detail for you. So, we both agreed to do it, even though I may be considered as the “emotional one” and Jerra is the one with anxiety.

We’re funny, we thought.

Right?


Jerra, the bride Brianna, and Myself

Well the time came and went so quickly, I felt I barely had time to prepare. Everything ultimately went off without a hitch, and there was a point when I was saying my few opening words about the newly married couple, where I heard, and even felt, I swear, the entire room, say a collective “Aaawwww…” I immediately had this rush of confidence and thought, “They’re eating it up! I can’t believe it!” They even laughed a few times, too. Who would have thought?

So I guess that’s my point, that public speaking may not be so bad after all. It’s not as terrifying as I remembered it, anyhow. I think I feel as if I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, and possibly ready to take on another challenge. A small one.

Weekend Photography Workshop at VPW

This weekend I took part in an intensive weekend photography workshop at Vancouver Photo Workshops (VPW). Key word – Intensive. Our classes were Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm with an hour break for lunch, and not a moment was spared to pack our brains full of photography knowledge.

I signed up for the course with my friend Jerra. She received a DSLR camera as a wedding gift from her husband, and was wanting to really learn how to use it, rather than just defaulting to shoot in Auto all of the time. (Even though there is nothing wrong with that! They do make Auto for a reason.)

I have been attempting to shoot with a DSLR for a couple of years now, and recently upgraded from a Pentax K100D to a Nikon D90, but I still didn’t feel completely comfortable behind my camera. I wanted to know the ins-and-outs of my Nikon, be able to confidently shoot in manual mode, or to choose whichever exposure priority necessary, whenever my little heart (or eye) desires to.

I was concerned that the workshop might be a bit too basic for me, that I would be itching to move ahead into the more complex stuff, but I found myself loving every second of it. Our instructor, Aura McKay, was one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met. It’s obvious that she truly loves what she does for a living, and she is able to effortlessly captivate an entire room full of eager newbie photographers. At one point, on the second day of the workshop, when speaking to us about creative composition, I almost wanted to stand up and clap at the end of her rant. Her attitude about photography is absolutely infectious.

Aura McKay
Aura McKay

Day 1

We covered the basics of exposure – aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and choosing the correct, or creating a custom, white balance. We did an exposure workshop in the studio, and worked on all of these things – getting our whites white, and our blacks black. We took so many shots of these set-ups that I am quite happy to never have to look at them again! But all in all, it was great practice.

VPW Workshop exercise

VPW Workshop exercise

Day 2

Aura talked about depth of field, basic composition theory, different lenses and when and why we use them, and lighting! We did a depth of field exercise in the studio again, then right before lunch we took off for a photowalk, to try and use all of the things we had learned – white balance, depth of field, composition – yay! My photos from the walk are not all that exciting, so I’ll spare you.

After lunch, we basically spent three whole hours shooting models in the studio in different settings under different lighting. We even shot one of the models outside. At the end of it, I think my brain and my creativity were completely tapped, but I was pretty happy with some of my shots from the afternoon session.

The rest of my photos from the session can be seen on Flickr.

Matt

Matt

Matt

Matt

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Shazmin

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Needless to say, I will happily enroll in another VPW class, after a little more tinkering and practice behind the lens. As Aura quoted many times during our workshop: “If you want to be a photographer, take a picture. If you want to be a better photographer, take another picture.” And so on and so forth. Now, excuse me… but I have to go take some pictures.

Contiki Holidays VIP Euro Bash

Last night I attended the Contiki Holidays VIP Euro Bash at V Lounge in Yaletown. What. A. Party! And I’m not just saying that because one of my best girlfriends, Sheralyn, was a huge factor in making it the success that it was. (And she did happen to be the one that invited me!) Contiki doesn’t mess around when they throw a party.

The lovely host, Sheralyn
Sheralyn, the lovely hostess for the evening. The girl can rock a red dress like it’s nobody’s business!

Table decorations

Greek God at the Contiki VIP Euro Bash

Everything from a custom cocktail list, a VIP section sponsored by the Spanish Tourism Board, tasty hors d’oeuvres (duck confit – wow, yum!), music by DJ Zu of ZUZU Productions, to a cabaret show by NY Jazz Company dancers, contributed to one impressive and memorable party to celebrate Contiki and their longtime supporters. And to top it all off, we were treated to an amazing performance by Canadian singer/songwriter Keshia Chanté. More photos can be viewed on Flickr here.

Drink Menu

Spanish Tourism Board VIP section

DJ Zu

Cabaret dancers

Contiki Holidays is in the process of re-branding itself to appeal more to their target market, which is 18-35 year olds. This party showcased some of that re-branding with a Euro and Burlesque theme. The photos can’t quite capture just how risqué the cabaret dancers were, saucily stripping down to their teeny tiny birthday suits. I applaud these girls!

Cabaret dancers

Cabaret dancers

Cabaret dancers

Part of this re-branding also includes Contiki launching their “Have You Done It?” campaign with a cheeky video spot that some of you may have seen online. Here’s the teaser that brings you to the website. And here’s the kicker:

Not your typical adventure travel company, eh?

The highlight of the evening, though, was definitely seeing Keshia Chanté perform. What a big sound coming from that tiny frame! I thought the windows of V Lounge might shatter from the force of her powerful voice. She sang about half a dozen songs, finishing off with her new single, “Set You Free,” which starts airing on the radio next week. This was only the second time she’s performed it live – the first time being at the Contiki Bash in Toronto last week. She even happened to name-drop Contiki in the song! That’s a PR dream come true. I smell a collaboration with Contiki & Keshia in the near future, no?

Keshia Chanté

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Keshia Chanté

Keshia Chanté

It’s always nice seeing some familiar faces at these kinds of events, and even making a few new friends, too!

Eric + Sheralyn

Earls Girls: Kate & Amanda

Flight Centre folks

Flight Centre folks

Sheralyn + Chris

DSC_5950

Oh yes, I can’t forget the swag bag I was given as I walked out the door. The Lady Dutch purse hook – you know that baby is going to go to good use!

Contiki swag bag

So Contiki… you can definitely feel free to invite me to more of your parties. Brad mentioned something about an anniversary party later on this year… yeah. Ok? Thanks.

Keshia with the Contiki crew
Keshia posing with the Contiki Holidays crew.

~

Best of 2010

It’s a little late, but what the heck. I’ve never done a full year recap on my blog – only a summer recap in photos – probably because it’s very time-consuming. But this year was pretty special, with a lot of news-worthy items to share, so… let’s get started.

January

I did a contract gig from January to March for AdHack. Some of you might remember.

I also started doing more contract work for Alex Lee PR, Wesley Behan, RE/MAX Crest Realty, & Tell Ten Friends.

February

There was this event that took place in Vancouver that was pretty huge. You might have heard about it.

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Women's Slovakia vs. Russia game

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Oh yeah, and my Mom carried the Olympic Torch in Powell River on February 4th, right before it made its way back to Vancouver for the Opening Ceremonies. KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

@bcbarbara's biggest supporters

March

Always the best month. My birthday! I celebrated at Sanafir with some of my best girlfriends. Photo courtesy of Erin Buttler.

I took photos of Jerra’s baby belly for her, a month before she gave birth. I love this photo of her.

Maternity Photos

April

Twestival Vancouver, held at the CBC Studio. Photo by Jonathan Hanley.

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April 26th, my best friend Jerra’s baby girl, Halle, was born.

May

The Vancouver Sun Run fell on Mother’s Day. As usual, I ran it with my Mom, my friend Danica, and her mom Leslie. We were even featured in the paper, and I wrote a post about it.

Chelsea came to visit BC, all the way from Minnesota!

June

Launch Party Vancouver 9 put on by Bootup. Photo of my brother Jordan and I, by Jeremy Lim.

Launch Party Vancouver 9

Conviction Kitchen Season 2 started filming in Vancouver.

Conviction Restaurant @ Delilah's

The last get-together with Liz and Di, before they took off for summer holidays, and before they both moved away from Vancouver. *tear*

Di + Liz + I

July

Fun times with fun peeps.

J + J + J

Our annual family getaway to our cabin, Kokanee Cedar, on Powell Lake.

Kokanee Cedar

Kokanee Cedar

We were also in Powell River for Sea Fair weekend.

Seafair

Seafair

And on the 27th of July, my niece Ava Lorraine Hyunseon Behan was born. Love at first sight.

July was a good month.

August

Conviction Kitchen Season 2 wrap-up party for the last day of filming in Vancouver.

Conviction Kitchen Wrap up Party

Then back to Powell River for Ava’s christening and for her to meet all of her Behan + Adams family.

On August 27th, my good friend Liz had a little boy named Micah. He was born a little bit early, and there were a few complications, which required him to be flown from the Powell River Hospital to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. But that boy had a big heart and will to live, baby, and he is now as strong as ever, keeping his parents mighty busy. <3

September

Amanda’s birthday, Stacey P’s birthday/housewarming party, my Dad’s birthday, my cousin Cooper’s birthday, etc. Lots of people are born in September.

October

I got my new-to-me Nikon D90! Hence, the increase in photos in my Flickr stream. Gobble, gobble.

thanksgiving

There was gorgeous weather in October, if you remember.

the pr view

Oh yeah, I got a new job!

November

Riot Fashion Show at Guilt & Co. to play around with the new camera.

Stacey + Amber

December

First trip to Mt. Baker and first ride of the season with Buttler! So snowy and delicious. And it was like a mini vacation because I had to take my passport. Yippee! Photo courtesy of Erin Buttler.

Some kick-arse holiday parties.

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Christmas with the fam in PR.

Jaxon’s very first time on skates. He loved it. And it was Ava’s first Christmas.

Auntie Janis - get me outta here!

Happy New Year!

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What was your “Best of 2010″? Or rather, what are you looking forward to in 2011?

Riot Fashion Theatre

A few weeks ago, I attended the Riot fashion show at Guilt & Co. My good friend (and hairdresser) Stacey, and her co-worker Amber were a couple of the models, so I brought along my camera to take a few shots for them.

Riot Fashion show @ Guilt & Co. Amber + Stacey before the catwalk!
Amber + Stacey

I didn’t really care at first about getting the traditional “runway shots,” but in hind sight, I wish I would have sat at the end of the runway to catch the models when they stopped and actually posed. Those seats were taken quickly, though, and instead I was off to the side of the runway. It was much more difficult trying to get a good shot from there, but I did my best.

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

I also took a couple of close-up shots before and after the show for Stacey and Amber, because their hair and make-up, which was done by Aveda, looked amazing.

Stacey + Amber

Anyways, I’ve never taken proper photos at a fashion show before, so this was an experiment. You live and you learn! View the full set here.

The Switch from Pentax K100D to Nikon D90

A few years ago, I won a Pentax K100D, my first DSLR (like Mother, like Daughter!), and that is when I started to fall in love with photography. I didn’t know a thing at first, except for maybe the rule of thirds, but I happened to take decent pictures now and again without even really trying. I taught myself, along with a little help from my brother Jordan, how to use my new camera.

I’ve had a few years with it now, and while I did love my Pentax and get to know it really well, I felt it was really just my “learning camera,” and I was ready to move on to something bigger and better. As we all know, there’s quite the debate over Canon vs. Nikon. I do happen to be a Canon fan; my point-and-shoot is a Canon and I love it. But most of the photographers I know, when asked for advice on what kind of camera to buy, usually suggest buying the same brand of camera as someone you know so that you can share gear with each other. Jordan has the Nikon D80, and has been whispering in my ear for some time that if I want to upgrade, I should go for the D90, probably because he wants to have access to one! It made sense, though. We would be able to share lenses or other gear quite easily, and he could show me the ins and outs of the camera.

Buying the D90 brand new right now was out of my price range, but I still really wanted it. Well, it just so happened that the other day, someone I know mentioned on twitter that he was thinking of making the switch from the Nikon D90 to the Canon 5D Mark II, for video purposes. That got my attention, so I asked if he was going to be selling the D90. Turns out he was, along with 3 lenses, a flash, an 8GB memory card, and a camera bag – all for a very good deal. I was sold.

So today, I have in my hands a new-to-me Nikon D90 camera that I can’t wait to experiment with and learn more about. I haven’t used it much yet, but I took it with me on a recent trip to Powell River for Thanksgiving dinner with the family, and I snapped a few photos. Thank you especially to my good friend and favourite hairdresser Stacey, for being such a good sport! This camera will probably be in your face quite a bit in the near future. That goes for the rest of you, too. If you thought I took a lot of photos before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.