Sunday, October 16, 2011

Test driving the Fuji F550EXR camera

Fuji F550EXR
About a year after I started blogging, my friend Michelle suggested I start a weekly wish column, so I did. My intention was to highlight products I liked (sort of like Bargainista’s version of Oprah’s Favourite Things) and shower some link love on brands doing cool things in the social media space. Weekly wish was never really meant as a call out for brands to shower me with free gifts but one such brand, Fuji, showed they were listening and the next day decided to offer me a camera. For three years, I used that Fuji FinePixZ10 religiously. It took amazing photographs for a digital point and shoot but I’d been ogling DSLR cameras from my photoblogger friends for those times when I’ve wanted to try a bit more advanced photography.

A few months ago, Katie Noble at MS&L asked if I’d like to test drive a Fuji camera while vacationing over the summer. I jumped at the chance. I had the choice of three models and selected the Fuji F550EXR because I liked the combination of its compact size and DSLR features. I’m not sure I took advantage of all it had to offer but it took excellent pictures and when we visited Vermont, otherwise known as The Green Mountain State, the panoramic feature was amazing – even if spinning in circles made me dizzy. ;)

And more pics...
Flowers left at the top of the hill after the hurricane. 

A cowboy and his horse in Stowe

View from the mountain top.
Here’s the blurb Katie sent me about the F550EXR:
“The F550EXR is fully equipped to give you the best photos in low light or split-second action scenes. With High Speed Shooting at 11fps, the unique EXR-CMOS Sensor Technology and 15X Super Wide Angle Optical Zoom, this camera gives you unprecedented performance to capture clear subjects and vivid backgrounds. And Fujifilm’s latest GPS technology automatically geo-tags your photos and identifies over half a million locations.”

With an MSRP: $349.99, I think the F550EXR is a pretty sweet deal but would be sweetened with the addition of a travel case. (Thanks Fuji!) Don’t ask what I carried it around in while visiting Nova Scotia, Vermont and Montreal. ;) Hint: It wasn’t this large spy suitcase thing accompanying it when it arrived at my house.

I felt like a secret agent for a minute. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reflecting on a year of renewal and on the fence about enhancing my eyelashes

A year ago, I left a secure full-time job as a digital strategist at an awesome integrated agency to find new balance in my life and pursue my dream of being my own boss and doing more of what I love. The path has been amazing. I have few regrets (still not blogging as much as I thought I would) and haven’t looked back or second-guessed my decision for a minute. 

Having more control over my work life afforded me the opportunity to overhaul some other things:
• Improved my dilapidated house with the help of Norrland Homes and Meredith Heron.
• Lost more than 30 pounds thanks to Dr. Dukan (yes, the same 30 pounds I lost three years ago).
• Added highlights to my hair; and,
• Whitened my teeth.

Yet, I’m reluctant to take any measures to turn back the clock on aging despite things like Botox, Restylane and Juvederm fills making it so easy. You no longer need to go under the knife to remove the visible signs of aging from your face (and other body parts.)

Thanks to a couple invitations from Morgan Cates at Environics, I attended an event last summer where Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue, the #1 spa in Canada according to Glow Magazine. Dr. Kellett reviewed advances in cosmetic dermatology over the past 10 years. Jeanne Beker shared some of her current beauty secrets her not-so-great experience with plastic surgery many years ago, when she was pressured into a procedure. Both these women looked fantastic, tall, thin and aging well – with a little help, no doubt. I had no idea Jeanne Beker was almost 60! Unfortunately, due to scheduling constraints, I didn't book an appointment with Dr. Kellet as was offered for attending the event. Maybe one day.

As you can see, I’ve been learning about some of the non-invasive ways women can set back the clock on their appearance and how important it is to take care of ourselves and feel good in our own skin – medical intervention or not. Thanks to Morgan, her client Allergen and a quick visit to Dr. Nowell Solish, I’ve been giving the opportunity to test out Latisse – an eyelash enhancement product approved by Health Canada.

Check out this promo video for U.S. audiences with spokesperson, Brooke Sheids:

I was given a Jessica Jensen leather clutch and an eye grooming kit from Sephora too. I owe them all a big apology. I’ve had my supply of Latisse for quite some time now but due to living somewhat of a nomadic existence this past summer and then contracting some annoying sinus and eye infections, I’ve yet to test it out. 

I’m getting closer to taking the big leap. Besides, it will help me make up for the eyelashes I lost a couple years ago and according to Dr. Solish, after a couple weeks I probably won’t need to use it daily and I won’t need to use mascara. I’ve learned hyperpigmentation (or darkening of the eyes around the lashes) is a side effect that is known to happen in only 4% of people who use the product.

Why am I still sitting on the fence for this one? If you were me, what would you do?