Zazou Salon & Spa in North Vancouver

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Around Vancouver

I have been going to the new Zazou Salon & Spa once a week all month (I go again today!) here in North Vancouver. Located in Lynn Valley in the complex that surrounds the new North Vancouver Library, Zazou has a gorgeous space with floor to ceiling windows around two sides of the building.

I was invited out to the salon about a month ago for a facial and a massage. Although I get massages regularly, there’s quite the difference between a massage and massage therapy. At Zazou, they have Registered Massage Therapist who can do the deep therapy, but also the more relaxing stuff. I had a combination of both, which was quite the treat.

The spa takes up 3 rooms in Zazou, with it’s own calm reception area. The treatments all start off with a comfy robe, a beverage if you wish, and a nice foot soak. For both the massage and the facial you get to choose your scent experience. They started using some Aveda products last week that are quite relaxing.

Zazou Salon & SpaZazou Salon & Spa
[Photo Set Here]

Facials are newer to me, only had a few before, but after my experience that first day at Zazou, I immediately signed up for a full series (3 more). Aside from how relaxing the entire experience is (the calming process, the various massages, and just the ‘me’ time), it’s done wonders for my skin. I’ve had a lot of skin issues over the years, and the last few months had been a bit worse for me. Now it’s all starting to clear up, which is fantastic! I even bought some of the Comfort Zone products to continue using at home. Most of the products used in both the salon & spa are naturally-based, many fair trade and organic.

I’ve been quite the regular face around Zazou this month, and now that I’m due for a hair cut, I’m planning on booking one today from the salon. May as well try out all the services! Oh, they have a gorgeous pedicure section too, which I plan on using next time I’m due!

I’ve had the pleasure so far of seeing Lori for my skin and Scott for my massage. While at it, I would also love to recommend the servicecs from the North Shore Wellness Center, where I’ve been treating my injuries and issues for over a year now (with great success!) with the help of both Philippe and Shawn.

Photobook: DIY Album from Blurb

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Crafts, Photography

Honeymoon Album using Blurb

Today we got back our first coffee-table style photo book that was created using our honeymoon photos using the Blurb software (free software). We started off with something like 1600 photos from our nearly month-long trip to Europe 2 years ago for our honeymoon (yes, I get camera happy!)

We have nearly 15,000 images on Flickr and have only ever physically printed just our photos from Barcelona last year. We rather suck at the non-digital step. So, I decided to mix the technology in to make it easier. I’m not sure it was necessarily easier to use Blurb to create the photobook, but the end result was something I couldn’t have achieved with just printing photos. Here’s a shot of the software:

In the end, we have a 160-page book featuring about 450 images from our honeymoon. Some of those images are full page, some arranged into quadrants, and some mixed into patterns. There were lots of templates in the Blurb software to create various layouts. The cover I chose is basically a sticker-type thing that goes over the fabric, instead of the jacket (though the latter has the advantage of jacket flaps).

Honeymoon Album using BlurbHoneymoon Album using BlurbHoneymoon Album using Blurb

I chose to keep this book just about the images. It was too overwhelming with so many images to choose from to think about putting in a story as well. I had something pretty written for the flaps, but didn’t realize there would be no flaps with this cover style. Kind of a bummer on that.

I will definitely be exploring this in future, and would like to create books with more full-page photos, with text, and perhaps with black backgrounds instead of the white. We had no idea what to expect from the first try, but were quite pleased by it!

The price was just over $100 plus shipping for the book – not bad considering how many photos there are and that they are full bleed, and many at a large size. The quality was pretty good, with only slightly less vibrant colors than the real photos.

Social Media and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics

Posted in Around Vancouver, Events, Social networking

I’m a big supporter of independent media. As part of the team at NowPublic I help build tools that anyone can use to report on the news and events happening around them. With the prevalence of devices capable of recording video, still images and sound, it is almost impossible that a significant event will not be recorded in some way. And sometimes all this content created by the people is at odds with the interests of the corporations that produce or sponsor an event.

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be taking place in Vancouver and we are home to some very creative people who will be on the ground, recording and reporting on their experience during the games. For this reason a few days ago Raincity Studios wrote an open letter to VANOC requesting to start a conversation about how we can make sure that everyone will be able to document their Olympic experience:

“In brief, we’d like to have a conversation about how to allow fans and amateur media makers to document their Olympic experience while keeping out of the way of the IOC IP lawyers.”

It remains to be seen what VANOC’s response will be, if any. It would be very nice if everyone could document their Olympic experience and share it with the rest of the world without the fear of getting takedown notices that would make all their efforts useless.

Learning new Camera Raw tricks

Posted in Photography

The newest version of Adobe Camera Raw has a new local adjustments feature similar to the one on Nikon’s Capture NX. I find Camera Raw’s implementation to be much better since you can specify a mask to apply changes to instead of just a circular area, giving you a lot more control of which parts of the image to manipulate.

You can apply local adjustments in two different ways. One is the Adjustment Brush, which lets you paint a mask over the image to select where you want to make changes. You have full control over the shape of the brush and the Auto Mask feature makes selecting just the right areas very easy. The other way is to use graduated filters which create a gradient mask over the image, which makes it simple to select large areas.

To try these out I used a photo of a leaf floating in the water I took in Deep Cove.

Before: These is the image using the default settings, pretty flat.

Before

After: I used two graduated filters to darken the top and bottom of the image and a mask over the leaf to increase saturation and sharpnesss. I also cropped the image a bit to move the leaf toward the bottom right corner.

After

These changes make the eye wander a bit more towards the leaf, which now pops out a lot more. And the graduated filters helped get rid of some of the flatness of the original image.

A sad trip to Mexico City

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Photography

Last Saturday after talking to my mother I decided to book a trip to visit my grandfather in Mexico City. He was in the Hospital, very sick and my sister and I wanted to have a chance to see him again. We did get that chance, being able to be with him all day on Tuesday. He was conscious some of the time so he knew we were there to keep him company. Sadly, he passed away the next morning.

While I was there I took photos with my iPhone to put together a short photo diary. This trip was very difficult, stressful and full of emotions. With these photos I try to share some of that with you.

The best way of viewing this is with the Flickr slideshow, making sure descriptions are turned on: http://flickr.com/photos/ianivarieanna/sets/72157608818262497/show/.

You can also see them in the set here.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Posted in Around Vancouver

Capilano Suspension BridgeCapilano Suspension Bridge

A couple of weeks ago I went to Capilano Suspension Bridge with a cousin in town from Toronto. It is the first time I’ve been there in many many years, and I was quite pleasantly surprised.

I have many wonderful memories of Capilano Suspension Bridge from growing up in Vancouver. Over the last 10 years, it’s undergone a serious facelift. Part of me was very sad about this, and my last trip there (several years ago) I was sad to see the park so much more manicured. However, this latest trip I saw it with new eyes. For one reason, the changes have had a chance to “grow in” and, while it’s still rather a manicured adventure, I can appreciate it for that. Yes, it’s tourist-y, and yes it’s geared to families, but I think there’s something for everyone.

The second thing that really impressed me was the Treetops Adventure attraction. This takes the suspension bridge theme into the treetops, with suspension bridges up to 100ft off the ground, suspended in the trees. It’s done in a way that does no damage whatsoever to the trees, and even keep them strong and healthy (or so the signs said). We were there on a quiet day and had the whole treetop area to ourselves. It was a very unique way to experience the forest!

BC Residents can get a full-year pass for the price of one admission to the park. Not bad! Sadly, I didn’t know this before going to the park and, despite saying I was from BC, was not offered it at the ticket kiosk.

Visit the full set of photos here.

Obama – 700 ways and counting

Posted in News

And how many ways can you say "Obama Wins"? Well, at least 700! Check out this partial compilation of the 700 newspaper covers that ran the Obama story on the front page:

See the rest here.



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