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Lifestyle, Motivation, Photography, Travel

25 Things I Learned at 25

January 1, 2018

This year was certainly a very different one for me. It began like any other year and had challenges, hurts, and disappointments of its own… yet, it literally became one of the dreamiest years I’ve ever had. Maybe I’m wrong, but this, being my 25th year (an age I’ve always dreamt would carry a sense of wonder, awe, and accomplishment) was truly something out of the ordinary. I have had experiences, feelings, and situations in the past year that have completely changed the way I think, feel, and act. It’s a year I’ll never forget, since most of it either taught me something deeply revelational about my own history, or shifted something in me that will undoubtedly impact my future.

This post may sound a little bit dorky, or maybe just plain stupid, but I think the more honest you become with yourself and with others, the more ridiculous you risk seeming. So, I’m taking the risk.

As I was saying, this world has become more and more jet puffed with superficial egos, filtered feelings and more hidden agendas than I can make sense of. We all live in a world that is so concerned with how things look… that most of us don’t even pause to think deeply enough about how things really are. Even I have been deluded by my own desire to make sure that I “seem” a certain way. That is, until this year unfolded.

I’m a social media lover, I loveeee seeing and sharing endless feeds of pictures and stories- but this year I took on a challenge to ensure that I didn’t glorify myself, my lifestyle or any of the “things” around me. I decided I wanted to literally change the way I did things and “see what would happen”. For example, I took less selfies, I stopped posting regularly on social media, I paused to listen more… I stopped to look people in the eye and read their facial expressions or body language more than before. I stopped to carefully live each moment. I tried to be more present. I tried to smell the air around me, feel the concrete beneath my feet, and take in the sights and sounds around me. I made it my mission to take in every new experience as if it would be my last, and the results were mind-blowing.

I feel as though the mental energy I gave to being more present, being more focused on what was around me and paying less attention to how things were perceived by anyone else freed me of the pressure to “seem” anything different than my truest self. I found hidden beauty in some people, and found truth in others. I saw situations more clearly, and felt less burdened.

I literally gained the most I ever have in a single year. I crossed items like exploring a new city alone off my bucket list, finished my masters, got officially certified in a few passions, won a dream trip to meet one of my inspirations, and began taking steps towards making my other dreams a reality.

Anyway, as I sit here (in a little New York Cafe, on a trip here by myself, where I’ve been able to do some soul searching away from the noise and clutter of my usual world) I’ve compiled a list of twenty-five things I’ve learned in my 25 years of life… the lessons that impacted me most, the ones I want to hold onto as I trek out upon my next 25.

I thought to note them as a reminder to myself of who I am, who I hope to become and hopefully as a note to anyone else still searching or in need of some gentle advice. These have been tested and proven in my own life, I hope that maybe at least one or two of you out there might agree or even teach me something I can add. Here they are, the 25 things I’ve learned by age 25.

    1. You are never too old or too young to follow your wildest dreams.
    2. Don’t complain too much about waiting. Everything really does happen in the right timing.
    3. Your parents deserve a lot more respect for all that they do. Being an adult is incredibly complicated when you have a family depending on you.
    4. Not everyone you meet means everything they say.
    5. Laugh more. Even when you’re fuming, laughter is almost always the perfect way to deal with a situation (unless that situation is death, in which case laughing may be considered inappropriate).
    6. The problems you have are often 50% because of your own mindset or attitude. Improve by adjusting accordingly.
    7. Be kind to everyone you meet. It pays huge dividends and always comes back to you.
    8. Let yourself off the hook sometimes.
    9. Work hard. At everything. Always give 100%.
    10. You’re never going to please everyone.
    11. You’ll never be perfect, but you’ll always be perfectly you. Although- it doesn’t hurt to always try to do better or improve “you”.
    12. Grandparents and seniors know so much more than Google.
    13. Listen. Listen more than you speak.
    14. Don’t be afraid to back down in arguments. You may lose the battle but may win the war.
    15. Apologies should always be sincere. Mean it!
    16. Look people in the eyes… and less at your phone.
    17. There’s a whole world out there bigger than you, get over yourself. Learn to be humble.
    18. Your passion will find you, once you know exactly who you are.
    19. Spend time getting to know yourself. Who are you really? What do you actually love? What are your passions?
    20. God is literally always ready to hold your hand and lead you. Just ask Him.
    21. If you must spend, buy experiences over things.
    22. Money is a wonderful bonus to have, it enables you to do extraordinary things, but it won’t fix your problems.
    23. Try new things. (Within reason and safety.)
    24. Love people with all your might, even if they don’t reciprocate or understand it, just know how much to show and give…
    25. Above all things, guard your heart… for everything you do flows from it.

(Also, below are a few photos from my NY getaway, and the trip that allowed me to digest all these life-lessons while plotting my next step. Onto 2018!).

Adventure, Lifestyle, Travel

I really thought I knew it all…

March 1, 2017

If you’re a Trini, then you’ve probably heard of all the ‘places of interest’ that our twin-republic has to offer. I thought I knew it all and had seen it all having read all the magazines and seen all the Facebook posts. WRONG.

There are so many treasures throughout our islands that are yet to be experienced. Recently, I’ve been shackled to my desk thanks to work of varying sorts, but in an attempt to destress and remain sane, I decided to escape at least one day over the Carnival weekend and see the infamous “Caroni Bird Sanctuary” for myself. Sitting still with minimal need for movement seemed like a brilliant weekend idea for my tired mind.

I didn’t think much of what it might turn out to be… but boy was I wrong. I absolutely loved every second of the winding channels that lead to lush mangroves packed with these glorious scarlet creatures I barely paid attention to in primary school! They were breath-taking. (Truly deserving of being our National Bird).  Maybe I’ve been so preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of life that it amazed me more than the average Jane, but I had to at least get someone else to bask in its beauty. So-if you’ve seen it already, then hopefully you share my sense of awe, but if you haven’t then you really need to! I won’t share too many details, but if you’re one who appreciates the little things in life, then this is definitely for you.

You can find out more at the official website for the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, or take a look at the impromptu timelapse I tried to catch with my phone while I absorbed the hidden beauty that I never new existed about 20 minutes from home.

If you’ve got any local treasures you think are bucket-list-worthy, feel free to let me know! Next up, I’m thinking the Gasparee Caves!

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, Lifestyle

Bethel Music: Spirit Move // Kalley Heiligenthal // Have It All

March 10, 2016

At various junctions in my life, I’ve come to the point where I’m not sure how to take a step forward… or even back. I feel immobilized by circumstances and feelings and have moments of total uncertainty. It’s as though the motivation and zeal to get through anything is being drained… Thankfully, I’ve triumphed over many of these moments via a simple formula: worship. I know it probably sounds clichéd and there are surely moments when I forget about this powerful tool and waste my time trying to find other ways to hold on… but when I remember the beauty that comes through music… specifically worship… oh wow… Let the catharsis begin!

Nothing picks me up, and dusts me off quite like music can. I just thought I’d share the album version of the song that’s currently taking me through and giving me the much needed pep in my step for this season.

Hopefully someone out there might find something in this song too. If you’ve never heard of them, please check out Bethel Music on YouTube. Their worship has been impacting my life ever since the first time I listened… I personally prefer their live versions, but I thought to include the album version as a starter.


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!

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


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.


Continue Reading…

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