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Faith, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Motivation

A year of change, a year of difference…

December 31, 2016

Can you believe this year has already come to an end?! I feel as though just last week I was saying “I can’t believe 2015 is over!”… and somehow, we’ve jumped to 2017. Woah. Crazy right?

This year was surely something different for me personally, but more on that later.

I’ve heard so many times in the last 366 days (yep, this was a leap year) of the struggles and difficulties that those around me have been enduring. I’ve seen the tears, I’ve heard the stories. There have been losses and tragedies all around. Even in my own life there were disappointments and times when I thought I couldn’t face what might be ahead. There was so much uncertainty… I had no idea how 2016 would end, or how I would make it through.

But I did!! and you made it too! What a beautiful ending right?

I feel as though 2016 was a novel that confused me until the end. As I sit reminiscing on all that this year has brought, I don’t think of all the times when things were tough. I look at myself and I see all that I have become because of all that happened. I see all of those who have made it through their tough times and overcome obstacles. I see people who have grown and built stronger character. I see little moments that on their own didn’t make sense, but altogether formed a beautiful picture. I see a version of myself that I’m truly embracing and I appreciate each moment that I’ve lived.

I prayed on New Year’s Eve 2015 that this year would be a year of change… and that prayer was surely heard and answered. I didn’t think at the time that asking for change would mean so many challenges… but I see now that what you ask for may not come in the way you imagine. God has a funny way of doing things, but in the end, so long as you hold onto your faith and do the best you possibly can, things really do work out.  So don’t despair when what you’ve been hoping for doesn’t come in the way you expected.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” – Isaiah 55:8

I’m sure if you take a look at your own life, you’ll find many lessons now etched into the fabric of your mind. The experiences, the hurts, the let downs have taught you how to be stronger, how to avoid future troubles. They’ve transformed you in some way or the other, and you couldn’t possibly graduate to the next phase of life had things gone any differently.

So when 2017 brings you something you don’t quite seem to like at first, don’t forget that there is purpose hidden in every experience, you never know if today’s hurt will become tomorrow’s stepping stone.

Wishing you all a beautiful year ahead and here’s to hoping that 2017 that takes you closer to the version of yourself you’re destined to be!

 

 

Faith, Featured, Friendship, Inspiration, Love, Photography

Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After – Jodi + Regan

March 17, 2016

It’s not everyday that you come across couples whose relationships have stood the test of time. I’ve seen social media swarming with new relationships and young love, and while there’s an adorable quality to all of it – I have always felt a sense of awe over couples that’ve grown up together and stayed true for years upon years. That’s where my true ‘awwwww’ moments are born.

Couples like my grandparents, who have honoured ’till death do us part’ and share generations of lessons, love, struggles and everything else that comes with a relationship have a different kind of structural integrity that I can’t help but admire. I only have a few couples in my life, and by few I mean like three… who have marriages and relationship stories that inspire me… and boy do I try to learn from them. It’s a rarity in this world, but social media often tells us that everyone has those amazing perfect relationships.

What social media doesn’t tell you is that it’s much more about getting through the rough than enjoying the #datenights. It’s about fighting for what you want, maintaining a firm grip on your beliefs, and striking a balance that mutually encourages, supports and strengthens both people involved. I believe the same goes for friendship. You have to choose friends who are willing to go through the tough times WITH you, knowing that the journey will be long, but will be worth it if you’re both heading towards well aligned goals.

If you’ve found that in a friendship, or relationship, I suggest you count your blessings and work at it to keep it going. Hold on to it tight, because it’s the stuff that so many only dream of. If you haven’t, there’s a time and season for everything – so take the time to improve yourself until you do.

For Jodi & Regan, the sister and brother in law of my dear friend Kade – they seemed to have found the perfect recipe that works for them. They seem to have found it, and are holding on tight! Being the lover of weddings, engagements and all the mushy stuff that I am –  I thoroughly enjoyed tagging alongto grab a few shots of their journey towards the big day. It was clear to see how well they fit together, and super inspiring. Shout out to all the dreamers out there (myself included) – it’s possible!

Here are a few shots from their engagement shoot… Stayed tuned for shots of their destination wedding!IMG_0183rblog

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If you decide to use any of these images, please link them back to me please or feel free to tag me!  🙂

All images © 2016 Aimee Melyssa

Inspiration, Lifestyle, Motivation, Photography

3 Ways to Feel Less Crappy

February 10, 2016

We’ve all had those days where we feel drained, purposeless, empty, disconnected and as though life is passing us by, while all of our hopes and dreams are on some dejected shelf in the attic of our minds, slowly being hidden from consciousness by endless dust and spider webs.

If your life had a title at this point, it might sound something like ‘The Graveyard of Dreams’ or ‘Kill Me Now’. (or maybe you’re less cryptic than me- which is a good start.)

BUTTTTTTTT… WHY? Why do we get to these places… and worst of all… WHY DO WE STAY THERE?

Maybe it’s life, maybe you need to look at your beliefs, re-evaluate who you are versus where you want to be, or maybe you need to reconnect with God?

Regardless of why, or how you ended up in this ‘funk’… I’ve come up with 3 ways to help you feel less crappy….errr crapée?…  perhaps that sounds less crass *maniacal chuckle*.

1. Try something new. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results… and they were right! If you’ve been feeling demotivated, disconnected or just down right uninspired- try something you haven’t before. Do something you’ve wanted to but haven’t made steps towards. Maybe it’s new cuisine, a different genre of movie (probably not something too depressing), visit a tourist spot, or even try out a new attitude for size. We have a ton of activities available to us on this little island of Trinidad, just make the bold step of booking something and go. You may not feel like you even want to, minutes before trying whatever it is that you choose, but lead with your body and your mind will eventually follow. The hardest part of change is always the start, but believe me, it’ll be well worth your while.

2. Change up your physical environment. If you’re not employed and at home a lot, go out. Go to a nearby park, a mall, a theatre, somewhere that’s not a part of your weekly routine. If that doesn’t sound like it’ll help, change up your room or living space. For me, cleaning always helps me to feel better and the physical de-cluttering of a space provides me with a mental response where I end up feeling like I’ve de-cluttered my mind. WARNING: THIS PROCESS WILL NOT BE FUN. YOU MAY NOT WANT TO DO IT. However… you’ll thank yourself when you’re done. Who wants to clean, reorganize or leave the house after a long day, ESPECIALLY when you’ve been having a tough time? Certainly not you right? This is exactly why you should give it a try. Change is usually on the other end of trying something different. For me, I enjoy cleaning and DIY crafting, so this tip has always been my safety net. Hanging up some DIY artwork, buying a piece of art that makes me happy, or rearranging my furniture until the space feels different has been my therapy. A physical action almost ALWAYS cues a mental and emotional one. Again, do it even if you don’t feel like it, and eventually your mind (once willing) will follow.

3. Choose your battles. Everyday, you’re more than likely going to run into difficulties and challenges. You’re going to have interactions with all kinds of people. You’ll have to deal with the bigger stresses in life – like health, finances or relationship issues… and then there are the smaller stresses like difficult co-workers or ‘friends’ who don’t always rub you the right way. Throw it all together and it feels like a recipe for disaster.Life is a continuous balancing act, and often it feels like we’re closer to failure than success. HOWEVER, I’ve found that separating my situations into two distinct categories helps me to find way more success in the grand scheme of things: Important… and… Not-Important (yes, not very creative, I know). The important things are the ones that affect your future self; they create conflict regarding your future goals, and disrupt your life. The Non-Important ones are the little things you allow to get under your skin and frustrate you temporarily. These things are usually short lived, and won’t matter in a year, or ten… yet we spend time fussing over them anyway because we’re creatures of habit. For me, I try daily to decide whether my current stress, annoyance or frustration fits into either category. If it’s important – I take a deep breath and carefully try to find a way out. If it’s not important, I allow myself a few minutes to get it out of my system and redirect my focus to something else- while reminding myself ‘Aimee, it’s NOT that big of a deal. You need to stop wasting time, energy and emotions on this, and move onto something else. DO NOT REACT. I REPEAT. DO NOT REACT’. I often fail and get caught up on many insignificant issues, but when I remember to take control and give myself a timeline to either deal with the issue or just move on from it (if I have no control), it’s a breath of fresh air. You can’t win EVERY battle, but you can choose simply, to fight only the important ones.

In keeping with this blog post, and trying to swallow my own advice – I gave Tip #3 a try over the long weekend and ended up at the most northeasterly point of Trinidad… TOCO!  The colours, sights and clean chilling air were so incredibly refreshing that I’m already planning another visit. I couldn’t soak in enough of the views that surrounded me, and I actually loved that I left wanting more. A change of physical environment can be so empowering, as can a change in attitude. Give it a go! You won’t regret it. I know I certainly didn’t!

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IMG_3567tedit2rsAll images shot on an iPhone 6s Plus.

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…

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…

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