Category Archives: Mountain Life

Posted by Sharon Auld

The holiday season is a wonderful, glorious, hectic time! With attending parties and events, last minute shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating, family commitments and more, finding ‘together’ time can be challenging. While it’s not always easy, one way you can make the holidays a little more memorable, is by taking time together to start your own Christmas Eve traditions.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Naturally Chic, together with Tara Whittaker Photography, teamed up to share ideas that you can do together on Christmas Eve or throughout the holiday season! Whether this is your first Christmas together, or the first year you’ll be spending Christmas Eve alone, or even if you’re just dreaming of a more meaningful holiday experience, we hope you’ll be inspired by this three part Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples series! Our hope is that you’ll take time to reflect upon the season and spend quality time together!

Christmas Eve Traditions – Part 1

We’ve asked our very first guest blogger, photographer Tara Whittaker, to walk us through a few ideas for incorporating Christmas Eve traditions into your holiday! Here’s what she had to say:

“One of the best parts of being newly married or engaged during the Christmas season is the opportunity to create new traditions with your one and only. As a wedding photographer, it’s fun to see couples begin their new life together. It’s lovely to see them form a new identity with traditions and customs that they can continue throughout the years. Here are some festive suggestions (with a Calgary twist) for couples that are guaranteed to get them in the holiday spirit.”

1. Raise your Glass

Kick off your evening with a holiday cocktail at the perfect après work destination. The casual, yet chic Bar C Restaurant and Lounge on 17th Avenue, tops our list as the perfect spot to toast the holidays and sample the share plates. The Burnt Old Fashioned, complete with a toasted orange slice, is a personal favorite beverage. Cheers!

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

2.Table for Two

Enjoy an intimate dinner with the one you love. The Lake House is a spectacular setting at any time of year, but they’ve “decked the halls” for Christmas and upped the romance factor. We recommend a dinner for two near the crackling fire in the grand fireplace, while dining on a delicious dinner of Pan Seared Black Cod or Grilled Alberta Beef Tenderloin, to name a few of their specialties. Complete your dining experience with a holiday favorite, Sticky Date Pudding topped with honey ginger ice cream.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions from naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

3. Gift Wrapped

If you love watching your loved ones open their gifts as much as you love receiving them, why wait until Christmas morning? Give your loved one a small, yet sentimental gift on Christmas Eve and see their face light up. Sometimes the best gifts don’t cost a thing, but are thoughtful and handmade. Consider a custom playlist filled with holiday tunes you both enjoy. Finish your evening on a high note!”

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples from Naturally Chic and Tara Whittaker Photography.

Credits:

Shoot Concept Idea  and Design: Naturally Chic; Photographer: Tara Whittaker Photography; Designer + Stylist: Naturally Chic teamed up with CRMR and their properties The Lake House, and Bar C Restaurant and Lounge, along with Adorn Boutique (ladies fashion) and Ed Williams Menswear (gentleman’s fashion) for this inspirational shoot.  With Flower Arrangement provided by: Flowers by Janie; Hair and Makeup Artist: Brooke from Diva Salon Spa , Wood slice: Naturally Chic, Models: Shannon & Tyler, and a special thank you to Pamela Bigg and Lauren Webb from CRMR!

Stay Tuned!

We have many more suggestions for starting your own Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples coming up in Part 2 and Part 3 as we take you on a mountain escape to Banff!! You won’t want to miss it!

 

Posted by Sharon Auld

Lake Agnes Couple’s Session

If you can get away to the Canadian Rockies, there are many spectacular locations for hiking. Hiking to the Lake Agnes Tea House is a popular trail in the Lake Louise area, and one not to be missed! Fortunately for us, Tara Whittaker Photography is sharing her summer couple’s shoot with Christine and Cody. Whether you live near or far, if this isn’t a destination you’ve made this summer,  sit back with a cup of tea and live vicariously through these stunning images! The mountains will be here next summer, still beckoning.

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

From Tara Whittaker Photography on her Lake Agnes Couple’s Session:

“I was so happy to meet Christine and Cody who share a passion for exploring the Rockies and each other. We planned an evening hike to Lake Agnes and arrived just as the sun was dropping behind Mt. Niblock and Mt. Whyte. Here’s some images from our adventures that day.”

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

Situated near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, at an altitude of 2,135 m ( 7,005 ft), the Lake Agnes Tea House is a moderate hike from Lake Louise, with an elevation gain of 400 m (1,300 ft). After a forested hike on a decent path, the valley opens to reveal the beautiful Lake Agnes. At the Tea House you can sit relax, have tea and refuel with a hearty lunch of homestyle soup, fresh baked breads and sandwiches.

The Tea House, which was originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, was named after the original first lady of Canada, Lady Agnes MacDonald (wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister). She first visited the area in 1886, and fell in love with the idyllic lake and hanging valley! This was where the original Lake Agnes Tea House was built in 1901. Today, it’s enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year and the very spot Christine and Cody arrived to late in the afternoon, on this sunny, summer day.

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes couple

LakLake Agnes couple

Lake Agnes engagement from Tara Whittaker Photographer | www.tarawhittaker.com

From Christine on her Lake Agnes Couple’s Session:

“The mountains have been my second home since I was a child. I remember packing up the trailer and getting ready for a week of hiking and campfires in the summers, as well as bundling up and carrying my skis to the hill for some crisp mountain-side enjoyment. This routine has carried on right through to my twenties, where I continue to eagerly pounce on every opportunity to explore new areas of the mountains I hadn’t before. It gives me so much joy and peace being out there I can’t imagine not having them so close to my very home. Since meeting Cody, I’ve felt like a little kid again, making him come on every new adventure with me and exploring new places. And each time I do, he comes alongside with a big smile (partly because he’s laughing at the fact that I’m way too excited to get out there) and partly because he too, has enjoyed making new memories and finding new hidden gems with me. I love having the mountains as my home away from home, and someone alongside me to explore them.”

Thank you so much to  Tara Whittaker Photography for sharing these wonderful images with us and for Christine and Cody for letting us follow along on one of their mountain adventures!

Read more about Calgary and Lake Louise wedding photographer, Tara Whittaker in our “Fireside Chat” Series here, or check out one of our most popular features: “Mountain Veils” from Tara Whittaker Photography!

 

 

Posted by Sharon Auld

Today we’re sharing the “deerest” little birthday party for sweet, one year old, Isla. This woodland birthday party is so adorable!

We first saw a few of these images on Orange Trunk Vintage Styling & Rentals’ Instagram feed and we commented on how cute it was! From there, we discussed sharing it here! We’re thrilled that Heather (Orange Trunk Vintage Styling & Rentals) discussed this with Isla’s parents and that they agreed to feature it! Lucky us!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

“This sweet first birthday party was planned with so much love for little Miss Isla. Her mom, Sarah, has a wonderful eye for detail, and planned and designed this event down to the last pine cone! With all her favourite vendors lined up, she filled in the last few pieces at neighbourhood shops for flowers and food.  The party was to be held in a lovely local park area, but the weather wasn’t cooperative. Sarah went with it, and pulled off an outdoor party indoors, in her very own home. ” Heather / Orange Trunk Vintage Styling & Rentals

 

We couldn’t agree with Heather more! Sarah’s design and styling is impeccable! I love how she created this adorable woodland theme using a perfect blend of rustic and feminine styling. So fitting for a little girl’s birthday! She definitely could add “party planner” to her resume along with “super mom”! While Isla may be too young to ever remember her first birthday, she’ll always have the photos to see how much love and care her parents put into her first ever birthday party!

This the deer themed invitation from Etsy creative, After February  is fitting for Isla’s woodland birthday party!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

This custom-made chalkboard sign from  Helen at Tangled Tulip is such a wonderful keepsake! It’s also a perfect complement to colorful ribbon backdrop from Orange Trunk Vintage Styling & Rentals.

Fawn Themed Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Rustic first birthday party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Oh my! Aren’ these just the sweetest birthday cakes from Sweety Cakes? The detailing is exquisite, not to mention delicious looking!

Fawn themed Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

I love that the fawn theme was carried through to the favors in the form of these whimsical sugar cookies!

Fawn Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

As with any youngster, sparklers if you have them, are somewhat fascinating…

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain ChicWoodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

But, the cake is, of course, the highlight for a one year old!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Proud parents…

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Such a sweet decor accent…a photo record of Isla’s first year!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Too cute for words!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

A Dr. Seuss guest book? Please!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

What one year old doesn’t love tearing through a gift or two?

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

This unicorn stuffy from Dainty Cheeks Boutique is adorable and a sure to be much loved toy!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

After every social event, every princess needs her beauty rest. Sweet dreams Miss Isla!

Woodland Birthday Party on Canadian Mountain Chic

 

From Isla’s Mom Sarah: Isla’s Woodland Birthday Party

“When it came time to plan Isla’s first birthday I knew I wanted some kind of woodsy feel, but I needed it to be girly at the same time. I chose a fawn as my woodland animal that I would tie in throughout various elements of the party. I’ve always loved the colors mint, pink, gold, white and silver paired together so I decided to use that as my color palette.

I’m a big believer in supporting small shops and so I found makers on Etsy and Instagram to create items for me.

My favorite part of the whole day was, of course, seeing Isla having a blast at her party! I was also extremely pleased with the way my theme and ideas flowed together in the end. Standing back to admire it all put together was such a great feeling!”

Credits:

Photos: Isla’s Mom, Sarah and family friend Matt; Decor: Table decor & ribbon backdrop garland and rustic window frame: Orange Trunk Vintage Styling & RentalsCake and cookies: Sweet Cakes by Jordan Stannard, Sweety Cakes; Chalkboard sign: Helen at Tangled Tulip; Invitations:After FebruaryMonthly photos on rustic window frame:Social Print StudioNumber One balloon & other balloons: local party store; Flowers: local grocer; High Chair: garage sale find, DIY project by Sarah with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint; Bib: Skim Designs; Leather hair bow: Little BloomsAntler head band and Floral Garland: The Flowered FawnFloral garland: Charcoal Moon Apparel; Deer Stuffy: Smitten for the Wee Generation, Unicorn Stuffy: Dainty Cheeks Boutique.
Thank you to the family for allowing us to share in Isla’s memorable day!

Posted by Sharon Auld

This fun, inspirational shoot, the ‘Summer Watering Hole’, from Tara Wittaker Photography was inspired by the “Get in the Water” scene from the movie “The Notebook”.

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

In the romantic flick set in the 1940’s, country boy Noah Calhoun (played by Ryan Gosling) encourages young heiress, Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) to swing off a rope and into the watering hole. The scene, much like this shoot, is sure to conjure up nostalgic memories of childhood and floating down the river on inner tubes. At the very least, it will surely get you dreaming about how to spend your next hot summer day! I know what I’m dreaming about!

Fashion blogger, Becky Kung, of Canadian blog fame, Velvet and Vino, was Tara’s muse for this shoot.

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

Becky’s “Dolce Vita Dot Swimdress” from Swimco suit is adorable!

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

Becky and her hubby!

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

From the Tara Whittaker Photography:

What could be more “quintessentially summer” than a float down a lazy river on inner tubes. It’s the perfect pastime for hot summer evenings in Alberta. I met up with Becky and James at Stanley Park to photograph a relaxing evening on the Elbow River. In that particular spot, the trees bend over the water and the evening light streams through them in the most magical way.

Becky is a Canadian style blogger ( Velvet & Vino) and in planning their shoot, we were reminded of the swimming hole scene in the movie “The Notebook” where Noah coaxes Ali to “get in the water” from a rope swing. With that in mind, Becky turned to Swimco for a vintage-inspired suit and Sarah Mayerson Design designed a pretty flower crown. It was the perfect way to spark some summer romance!

The Summer Watering Hole a Notebook Inspired shoot from Tara Whittaker Photography | www.tarawhittaker.com

Credits:

Photographer and stylist: Tara Whittaker Photography; Canadian Style blogger and model Becky: Velvet & Vino Swimwear (suit and board shorts): Swimco; Flower crown: Sarah Mayerson Design.

What are your most nostalgic summer memories?