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Faith, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Motivation

6 Lessons to Take into 2016

January 6, 2016

6. Don’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Start your day right. I suggest doing this by starting your day with 5 minutes of meditation to help you gain clarity on what lies ahead. For me, I try to pray while focusing on what’s ahead of me. When I remember to do so, it makes a HUGE difference. Admittedly I don’t always do this, but I hope to make it a habit. Often, there are a number of things we need to do during the day but when we wake up feeling scattered, you can bet that that scattered state of mind will continue throughout the day.  Meditation gives you the opportunity to purge all the messiness in your head. Chances are, when you take 5 minutes to meditate, your mind will start to race with all your to-dos and stresses.  This is the purging process. Just stick with it and allow this to happen until your focus becomes narrowed to what’s most important.  Eventually, this will create space and clarity in your head to recognize what your first task should be and you’ll feel more ready to conquer the day. Your attitude when you wake up sets the tone for the rest of the day. Be determined to make each day a good one – the sentiment alone can be revolutionary.

5. Surround yourself with motivated people.

Numerous scientific studies have shown that the people around you influence your behavior. They define what you consider “normal” and thereby either bring you up (or down) to their level. We’ve all heard about having ‘good’ friends and finding the ‘right ones’, which is the broader aspect of my point, but let’s get specific! It’s 2016 PEOPLE!!!

If you hang around people who are energized, purposeful and committed to making a difference in the world, that’s what you’ll consider to be “normal.” Don’t spend time around those who constantly see life as a struggle, or worse, don’t be that guy. Life will always be filled with challenges and obstacles, but having people around you who are determined to push past those challenges in hopes of getting to all the wonderful things ahead… Those are the ones you need to be surrounded by. After a while, being naturally motivated will become a part of who you are. 

Know your goals. Know your friends. If the two don’t align, one of those probably needs to be re-thought. *cough* It’s probably not your goals.

4. Eat wisely because success takes energy.

Our civilization currently suffers from a self-induced plague of obesity, caused by the mass consumption of addictive food products that give people life-shortening diseases after first making them listless and drained. I’m looking at you Cinnabon!!!

Ohhh.. that tray of minibons.. the caramel… and pec..*ehem* Where was I?

I’m not saying you don’t eat the occasional slice of cream cheese smothered carrot cake. However, if you want the energy to act, the energy to achieve your goals, you need to give your body the kind of fuel that can create that energy. And it’s not going to be found in refined sugar. Eating healthy eventually leads to you FEELING and being healthy. So make the sacrifices now, you’ll be glad later, it’s not as hard as you think.

3. Don’t wait for perfection, just do it now!

Perfectionists are sometimes the biggest losers in life because they either expect things to be perfect before they take action or, if they do take action, they can’t enjoy whatever happens because it’s not the perfect outcome. *smack!* THIS ONE HIT ME. It’s me. *cue the guilt*

The only thing that’s perfect in this world is that you’re perfectly free to take action – now, as in right now. Don’t get me wrong- patience is wonderful, but waiting TOO long for PERFECTION is the enemy. Whatever you have is enough to take you to wherever you want to go, as long as you’re willing to do what it takes. Perfection can still be your guide, but don’t make it your goal if it’s not realistically possible, and if falling short will discourage you. This is something I’ve struggled with, but I’ve learned that giving your BEST is better than striving after unrealistic goals and expectations.

2. Loving someone does NOT mean losing YOURSELF.

I know this one is a bit cheesy… but it’s so true. True love should empower you, but it shouldn’t obliterate all traces of yourself or your individual priorities. There’s an unmistakable passion that’s bred out of love. When you love someone, or something, you suddenly feel an inner strength to go past your natural borders and boundaries to ensure that your priorities reflect whatever, or whoever it is that you love… It’s easy to lose yourself in this passion and forget to prioritize your own emotions and individual goals. Individuality is just as important as existing as a part of something or someone else, so be wise in your sacrifices and prioritizing.

1. Your attitude determines your altitude.

I once saw that quote scribbled somewhere, but it’s now etched into my brain because I’ve proven it to be soooooooooo true. Attitude is everything. Attitude determines what you do after you’ve fallen off the proverbial horse… it’s not just about getting back on, it’s about HOW you do it. Are you going to whine and b**** about the fact that you fell off? Are you going to blame the horse then storm off yelling expletives? Or are you going to try harder and hold on tighter?! *inner applause for decent analogizing* You’re the boss of all your decisions. You decide what happens after you mess up or after you’ve been hurt. We all have awful days when we wish we could disappear into some alternate universe or hop into a time machine (yes I’m a fan of FRINGE and time travel). However, since we don’t have a Marty McFly around, the next best thing is to adjust your attitude and give your BEST to whatever you’re faced with. Let integrity hold you accountable and keep trying, I promise you’ll eventually get there… wherever ‘there’ may be for you.

I’m sorry this was such a lengthy post, but it was hard to summarize and finally decide on just 6 lessons that I’d learned. 2015 was a tough year for me, I’ve learned way more than this, been through so many trying times, but they have all helped to ready me for a better 2016, and positioned me to create a better version of myself. Hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to share more about these in the future. Until then, I hope that 2015 was a good year for all of you, and if not, take the initiative to make 2016 better and believe it will be. You’re stronger than you think! You’ve got this.

This can be your year, just take control, give whatever you can’t control to God and work hard to see your dreams materialize.

Inspiration, Lifestyle, Motivation

Oops… I did it again.

October 3, 2015

Lately, I think if pop lyrics described my current emotional state, ‘Oops I did it again’ would probably be most accurate.

Ever felt like you were stuck in a loop, on repeat? Going in circles… You know… Like, you promised yourself you wouldn’t eat junk food again, or let little things get to you, or you promised yourself to have a better attitude towards that one person who stirs up the anger in your soul?

But… after making the resolve to change… YOU DO IT AGAIN???!

THAT’s ME! Well, lately anyway…

What is it that makes us repeat our mistakes? Why do we all tend to back ourselves into familiar corners when as human beings, we have a great deal of power to exercise free will and make changes?

After my last post, I promised myself I would make more time for blogging… but apparently ain’t nobody makin’ time for that here!

Perhaps, stepping out of our comfort zones challenges us in greater ways than we feel prepared for. Perhaps we’re lazy or too engrossed in the millions of distractions around us… or focused so much on other people’s problems that we lose focus of our own.

Whatever it is, it’s an epidemic. I can’t keep track of how many people around me, myself included, feel as though time is pressing on, but we’re stagnant or not making enough progress.

WHY does it seem so hard to make the first step out of this predicament???? WHY is it so hard to know what that step should be??!!??! Why is it so hard to make a change? How can we make it easier?! *cue panic attacks and hyper ventilation*

Unfortunately, I haven’t found the answer to my own questions… So I’m really asking here! Your comments are both welcomed and encouraged!

In the event that there’s not much feedback, I’ll take that to mean that you’re searching for the answers too… and I’ll make it my mission to figure it out and get back to you. I’m determined to find an answer.

 

So… stay tuned…

 

Inspiration, Lifestyle

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

September 17, 2015

I’m sitting in my room. There’s no electricity. Thanks T&TEC. There’s no hum from the air conditioner… All the familiar background noises have gone mute. There’s a stillness in the air and it’s silent.

I’m not distracted by the flicker of notifications on my phone, I’m not scrolling through my Instagram feed during every dull moment. I’m not penning my latest frustration to update my Twitter feed, and I’m not browsing Facebook to see who’s with who… (Although if my WiFi were still up, I’m pretty sure I’d tweet something passively aggressive about this ordeal.)

I finally have time. And… *ouch* Like a ton of bricks to the face (or like a smartphone to the face when you’re sleepy) it hit me.

We all complain that we don’t have nearly enough time in the day to get things done.. Whether we mean that in terms of up keeping relationships or chasing our dreams. According to a familar meme, ain’t nobody got time for that! Ain’t nobody got time for anything! AHH! Continue Reading…

Adventure, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Travel

Drowning?!

September 10, 2015

As promised, here are a few snaps from over the weekend. (Click through to see them all!)

Often, life becomes so overwhelming that we lose ourselves in the momentary struggles of each day. Ever felt like you were drowning in your problems? Sheesh! It’s so easy to feel overcome and defeated by our circumstances.

I, for one often feel like I have too many brain tabs open… But thankfully I’ve been developing ways of closing them off one by one and learning how to isolate myself in a way that healthily provides me with the grace to carry on.

Tobago is one of those little antidotes for me. I absolutely love it. We Trinidadians are so lucky to have such a beautiful sister isle just a stone’s throw away!

It is SO important to take a step back every now and then, and take a moment to literally listen to the sound of waves crashing and allow your problems to be drowned out. It’s important to set your phone aside, or switch off all your devices and change perspectives every now and then.

When you step away from whatever is challenging you, you immediately lessen its grip on you. Try it! It works. 

 Remember: all the water in the ocean could never sink a ship unless the water gets inside. Likewise, you need to learn how to survive without letting what you feel consume you from the inside out.

If you can’t physically remove yourself from an atmosphere or situations where you’re inclined to feel overwhelmed, at least take a mental break and switch gears every now and then to focusing on things that make you happy or inspired.

I can attest to the fact that this method has been like glue in holding me together.

For my mom’s 50th birthday we hopped across to Tobago for what seemed like 5 minutes. As always, the ever so laid back pace there provided a much needed break and a chance to catch our breaths while celebrating her day in a most gorgeous setting.

How do you escape? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments!

(Click the last social icon below to the right to leave a comment!)

Food, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Motivation, Photography

You survived!

September 3, 2015

Birthdays have ALWAYS been something I look forward to, year after year. Whether it’s my own or someone else’s- there’s a familiar excitement that surges through my veins. It’s similar to that ‘Christmas’ feeling you get when the trees are lit and the stockings are hung and there’s unhealthy amounts of over-sweetened sorrel in your fridge.

I know that for many, it’s ‘just another day’. For me though, I believe in making the most of every single day you’re given.. and birthdays just seem like a scheduled time to have a little extra fun. Why not take advantage of a designated day to make someone feel special, or to treat yourself?

Growing up, my mom made all my birthdays special. It was never about the presents or the cake, in fact I’m not a fan of cake at all, nor do I like ice-cream… but it was always about feeling like you were important. It was a day set aside to allow yourself to feel like anything was possible. To this day, there’s still a bit of birthday ‘magic’ that I always look forward to.

Birthdays remind me of where I’ve been and how much yet there is to accomplish. They’re a bit of a reality slap, and I suppose for the older folk, that’s why they’re probably a bit more daunting. It’s probably a chilling reality for some to not have accomplished what they wanted to by a certain age… like getting married or having their dream job by a certain time.

BUT. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE.

Continue Reading…

Food, Lifestyle, Photography, Travel

Falling in love with…

August 26, 2015

Food, glorious food! Is there really anything better?

My earliest impressions of food were formed during my childhood. I’ve always had the most positive associations with eating since I came from a family that loved to cook, and equally loved to eat.

Mealtimes were always a family affair; a time to share and laugh. We had many home cooked meals, but moreso we tended to eat out. I vividly remember trying foods from different countries and cultures, and absolutely falling in love with many dishes that are still my favourites today.

Sunday afternoons in the 90’s for example, were spent eating at Joe’s Pizza in St. James, most of the time, our whole family occupying the entire restaurant! The dining and entertainment scene wasn’t as vibrant as it is today, but the ambiance created in that little nook by the company kept transformed the atmosphere.

I loved it. I loved sitting with my family, hearing the constant chatter of buzzing conversation. The smell and taste of piping hot cheesy pizzas, strombolis, lasagnes and bread sticks. I loved the feeling of security that came from being with a huge family. The honest simplicity was perfect.

Fast forward, nearly 20 years later… things have changed, as they tend to. Not that change hasn’t presented it’s own beauty, but the time for these family gatherings and the unadulterated attention given to sharing a meal together just isn’t available anymore.

However, one thing has remained constant. My love of food. I still love experiencing new flavors. I still love eating and the nostalgia the smell, taste or even sound in some cases can bring.  Food, and dining, often take me back to that place when life seemed perfect. Perhaps it’s an emotional connection. There’s something familiar in certain simple flavours that deliver an inexplicable feeling of contentment by association.

I suppose that’s why food will never get old for me. Eating has always been, and will always be more of an experience for me than it is an element of basic survival. Anyways, I thought I’d begin photo-journalizing some of my favourite dining experiences in light of this love, starting with a dinner centered around one of  my favourite ingredients of all – cheese.

What are some of your earliest food memories? What dishes did you love growing up? Comment below!

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Gorgonzola crusted steak medallions, glazed with a balsamic reduction, paired with a side of classic parmesan and cauliflower risotto.

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Balsamic glazed steak medallions, crusted in sharp cheddar, paired with a side of creamy mashed potatoes and a seasoned steamed vegetable medley.

*Featured image: Creamy garlic, spinach and artichoke dip, loaded with freshly shaved parmesan and baked to perfection. Served with home made Tuscan bread spears. 

 

Lifestyle, Photography

What was your first?

August 19, 2015

Pink, plastic, “Barbie” labeled, carrying 110 Kodak film.

That was my first camera. I loved taking photos of anything and everything with it, and my sentiments remain unchanged. Example? The random photo chosen as the featured image for this post. (Although it’s simple, it takes me right back to the day I took it, the feelings, and the people).

Growing up, I rarely remember seeing my dad or my favourite uncle without a camera in tow on our family trips and gatherings. The big bulky kinds that made strange sounds and carried cassettes and film inside. In fact my mom also carried around her little point and shoot too on all our travels, snapping away at all the little things I did and places we went together. That’s where most of my embarassing photos probably came from. Thanks mom. I remember almost everyone around me constantly taking pictures of everything, so I was always pretty comfortable around a camera.

Through them, I learned to place value on my experiences, big and small alike, whether it was building a mini fort out of our couch cushions in the living room (Trinis, you know the kind I mean), or exploring the Hawaiian islands.

I consider my family to have been pretty tech savvy, with their giant cameras and motorola flip phones that were bigger than my head. I actually still have boxes of old VHS tapes and Mini DV cassettes loaded with home movies and I can’t tell you how many times I flip through them or the old photo albums we have. The nostalgia is always overwhelming, in the best ways. I love seeing other people’s family albums too. They tell such stories.

I place great sentimental value on old photos, which is perhaps the reason for my constantly filled camera rolls on my phone. I’m always trying to preserve a glimpse into my present, because I can’t wait to look back on it! (Ok, maybe not the 30 selfies… )

Anyway, in light of it being World Photo Day I thought it fitting to share a little insight into my love of photos and photography. I’m not by any means a real ‘photographer’, but I do qualify as a genuine lover of the art form that it is.

I once read that “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone” which about sums things up. I can’t ever see myself not taking tons of photos of anything and everything, and I know for sure that I’ll continue the tradition of giving cameras to kids. Mine gave me one of my favourite escapes today, and I know my future kids will one day feel the same. You have to start somewhere right? Even if it’s on a pink, plastic, “Barbie” labeled camera.

 

What was your first camera? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments below!

 

Faith, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Motivation

Limited Edition

August 17, 2015

“That’s a stupid decision.”

“Why?!”

“Are you sure?” 

Haven’t we all heard statements and been asked sarcastic questions that force us to question our decisions, our character or our morale?

I know I have. I’ve been subjected to my fair share of judgement, misunderstanding and often doubted my decisions as a result of not getting the approval I thought I needed.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all felt at some point as though we were wrong for not getting approval from someone who mattered. I’m pretty sure we’ve entrusted our ambitions, our feelings, our validity and self worth to people who shouldn’t have jurisdiction to even decide such. If that’s you, like it was me, then you probably know what it feels like to be down-trodden and discouraged.

If that’s you now… STOP!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

Continue Reading…

Inspiration, Lifestyle, Love

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed

August 10, 2015

 

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”   ― Kahlil Gibran

and… the depth of love I’ve felt from you has only grown deeper as time has passed.

I shudder to think that it has almost been two years since my grandma passed away. Two days before it happened, I remember sitting at her bedside. I thought to myself that she would be home in a few days, and life would go on. I never stopped think about the screeching hault that would soon come. I never knew that two years later I’d weep so heartily that my insides would feel bruised.

Continue Reading…

Faith, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Motivation, Photography

Cathartic Bombs and Minefields

August 2, 2015

 

Ever tried sleeping in to avoid life? I have. It probably sounds immature, and not very conclusive, but it’s an avoidance tactic that I remember using as a teenager to diffuse ‘stress’. Shame on me for thinking that life was tough back then! Little did teenage me know, reality would only sting harder as time went on.

Thankfully, although now I’m plagued with new, more grown up realities… call it stress 2.0... I’ve found a few little anecdotes that I thought to be share-worthy..

Call it my ‘I wish someone carefully explained this to me before I had my awkward teenage stage’ revelations if you will.

Back then, I thought that everything was some cathartic bomb and life was a minefield. Now, I pretty much recognize that that’s actually true… Except… I actually posess the power to deal with every hand that I’ve been dealt.

There’s a simple solution to my problems that always existed, but I was probably too self absorbed to take notice.

Continue Reading…

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