Chasing Rainbows with Fujifilm

**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fujifilm who generously provided me with X-A3 camera to facilitate my chasing of rainbows. The opinions, pictures, hopes, and dreams shared in this post are my own.**

Is there anything better than a sunny park on an autumn day?

Now that the worst of the summer heat has burned off, I’ve really started to enjoy taking the dog on daily strolls through our neighbourhood park. Patterson Park in Baltimore is not only sizeable but also contains so many amazing fun features. There are sports fields, a pool, a duck pond, a dog park, a charming fountain, and a lovely pagoda.

Last Sunday, the promise of fall was carried through the air on the first of the dropping leaves and I sensed a bit of magic at the park.

It was my first time oot and aboot with my new Fujifilm X-A3 camera and, though I’m still learning how to make the most of all the amazing features, I was so happy to be able to capture a few moments of that lovely autumnal alchemy.

Like this rainbow in the fountain.

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The Patterson Park Pagoda is only open to the public on Sunday afternoons – and only until mid-October – so I was delighted to finally be able to catch a peek inside, where I was greeted with more flashes of colour.

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The Pagoda is home to gorgeous stained glass that casts the most enchanting reflections all around its interior.

Catching the colour in unusual places made me feel, for the first time since moving to Maryland, like there is going to be plenty of beauty to discover here.

I mean, we all know I left my heart in Halifax and surrounded by the nautical charm of Nova Scotia, so it’s nice to see that I’ll be able to capture some equally unique and lovely moments while I’m here.

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In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open and keep searching for more rainbows. 

Stay tuned for more posts as I continue to chase beauty with Fujifilm.

Design

 

Custom Teeth Whitening for my Complicated Smile

DISCLOSURE: I partnered with Smile Brilliant and received a complimentary whitening kit in exchange for this review. As always, my thoughts are my own. Please be sure to enter the giveaway (details at the bottom of this post)! ~halitrax

I have a complicated relationship with my smile. Firstly, because it’s taken some real work to get it as straight and sparkling as it is now. I was that awkward pre-teen with braces, retainer, and -yes- even headgear. Puberty was rough, friends. Toss in a sprinkling of other orthodontia-related issues, extractions, and whatnot, I’ve put in the hard time to straighten out my chompers.

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12 years old with a mouth full of metal.

Secondly, though, is the psychological relationship I have with my smile. My smile is my favourite feature. I love it and I love to share it freely. For years and years, it was my go-to expression (and, honestly, it still is). I have a smile for every emotion; I have a pleasant smile, a friendly smile, an awkward nervous smile, a sad smile, and even a RAGE smile. (My dearest friends can attest to this and have learned to decipher which smiles are which.)

It wasn’t until my 20s when I started to get more protective of my smile, and with whom I would share it. I’ll admit it: I lost some of my happy naivety as I aged. Like so many women, we begin to open our eyes a bit more to social injustices, to recognize how we’re socialized to be pleasant and amenable – to smile and obey and not ask questions. Enter feminism.

I learned, and am continuing to learn, that it’s okay to vocalize my opinions – even when they’re unpopular. I’m allowed to take up space and don’t have to step aside for a man in a “hurry.” I can say “no thank you” without accompanying it with an apology.

Most importantly, I learned that I don’t have to smile and be happy if it’s inauthentic.

My smile is for me.

And you know what? Knowing that makes me a happier person.

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Photo Michelle Doucette Photography.

Now when I share my smile, it’s not out of perceived obligation to be friendly, it’s because I want to and, mostly, I want to share it with everyone. (Feminists are happy, smiley, friendly people too you know!)

Because you’re never fully dressed without a smile…

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When Smile Brilliant approached me to partner for a product trial and giveaway, I was more than excited to embrace the opportunity. I’m so precious about my smile and love knowing that it’s shining bright when I flash my pearly whites.

Of course, after years of dental work the first thing I did before I started the Smile Brilliant kit was talk to my dentist and hygienist. They took a close look at the ingredients in the kit and then gave me the green light to start the whitening process. I was reassured that the Smile Brilliant teeth whitening trays use the exact same ingredients that my dentist would use for a professional whitening – except that Smile Brilliant allows us to whiten from the comfort of our homes and for a fraction of the cost.

The Selfie Smile Scale

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These pictures show how the Smile Brilliant process can have as subtle or as dramatic a change as you would like, depending on how many sessions you choose. From left to right these show my smile before I started to whiten, during the whitening process, and at the end. The picture on the right was taken last week when I was in Manitoba.

My second concern was about my sensitive teeth. Fortunately, Smile Brilliant also has an option just for folks like me, to pair with sensitive teeth!

Check out this video to watch how easy the process is:

So, do you want to try Smile Brilliant out for yourself? 

Click here to enter a DRAW to WIN $139 store credit for Smile Brilliant whitening trays.

The contest will be open until June 7th, 2017 and is open to Canada, USA, UK, and Australia. In the meantime, you can also get 5% off your Smile Brilliant purchase with the coupon code HALITRAX5.

#Smile Fearlessly

A Clean Home is a Clear Mind with Maritime Cleaners + A Giveaway!

I’m not what you would call a minimalist. I love maximalist decor and I always have way too many projects on the go. Try as I might to keep things organized, my life always seems to pile up around me. I like to tell myself that my creativity emerges from chaos but, realistically, the cleaner my home is, the more I can focus on creative tasks.

I do try to stay on top of a semi-regular cleaning schedule. I vacuum the pet fur, scrub the bathroom, that sort of thing. Still, I definitely welcome some relief from those tedious tasks.

The time I could save if I didn’t have to clean adds up fast! It’s precious time that can be used for actually tackling all those half-started projects. When my space is clean, my head is clear. Cleaning is a distraction from what I really love and want to do.

I partnered with local Halifax cleaning company Maritime Cleaners and, in addition to having a great team take cleaning off my hands, I was also given the gift of a clear mind and a weekend free from worrying about the mop and bucket.

Maritime Cleaners Logo

Raise your hand if your first instinct when people are coming over is to CLEAN! Well, that’s me! Thankfully I was reassured that all I needed to do was a basic tidy so that Maritime Cleaners could tackle the deep cleaning.

Maria and Khaled arrived armed with all the supplies they needed and wonderful friendly attitudes that assuaged my guilt for how long I had let some of my chores go. (Yeah, I’ll show you…)

The Results

I cannot describe the sparkle that was left in my home by Maria and Kahled. Not only did they successfully tackle the really grimy stuff, but they were so thorough.

One of the downsides of having 2 cats and a dog is that fur is EVERYWHERE. Somehow it even ends up on ledges behind rarely-opened curtains. Tucked behind my bed this spot is, truthfully, very easy to overlook. Well, Maritime Cleaners found and de-furrified those pesky fur traps.

Window Before

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Window After

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If you still need some convincing, here’s where I really bare my sins. Okay. Please don’t judge me.

Promise?

Cross your heart and hope to cry?

Okay, here’s what my tub was in all its scummy glory. (Sorry, Mom.)

Bathtub Before

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Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a monster.

Enter Maritime Cleaners.

Bathtub After

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SPARKLING CLEAN. Jones will not get out of it. He’s a picky fella and, apparently, is revelling in the new cleanliness of the bathroom.

Seriously. It’s his new favourite hangout.

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Not only did they conquer all the worst cleaning chores, but Maria and Kahled also did a very thorough sweep and mop on the floors before they wrapped up.

Talk about commitment to a job well done!

There is something so serene about putting your feet up at the end of a long week and knowing that your weekend chores are already taken care off. Total clear mind.

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Think you could benefit from a clean home and a clear mind? Do it. Maritime Cleaners has generously offered a great deal for Halitrax readers. Just follow this link and use the discount code HALITRAX to get 15% off a clean!

Readers can also ENTER HERE to win a FREE standard clean and a luxury box from Made By Collection. The contest for a Maritime Cleaners clean runs until March 27th, 2017 and includes multiple chances to win. I’m crossing my fingers for you!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO KAREN D!

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