Where did 2014 go and how I feel about 2015! + My jam list

Editorial Photography by Martine Sansoucy

Editorial Photography by Martine Sansoucy

Yup. As always at the beginning of every year I am determined to keep up with the blog. Write every day I tell myself… okay, maybe once a week, I could probably handle once a month. And here it is folks, my one blog post for the year! haha not quite, I did have three or four…

So this year I am just not going to make any promises. Things are busy, I am NOT going to lie! That’s why.. some sacrifices (like writing in a blog), have to be made. 2014 was in the door and out the window. I don’t really know where the year went! My boys and I had many summer adventures including our once a year camping trip including grumbling and moaning as we went for nature walks, many many games of Apples to Apples, delicious food that I actually had time to cook, naps, sunset photos, tons of trips to the corner store, lots of my hair falling out, etc, etc.

I also took a trip to BC to visit my dad with my one of my boys and stocked up on incense from China Town. I painted my kitchen yellow, then, I painted my living room light peach (which looks more like pink admittedly), and we FINALLY got new flooring put in our living room. I read many, many books. Business books, fictional books, non-fictional books, self help books, health books, and pretty much any type of book that you can think of. Oh yeah, did I mention I like books?

I watched a LOT of great TV.. I blew through some shows pretty quickly that I became obsessed with. They included Orphan Black, Broadchurch, Homeland, Mr. Selfridge, Broad City, Masters of Sex, Tyrant and Outlander. All totally ridiculously good shows. I listened to a LOT of music. Especially Jamaican music and Hip Hop. I did a LOT of laundry. Because three boys generate an atrocious amount of laundry, but at the same time have an invisible vortex where all socks disappear to.

A lot of things really came together for me. I have been reading, staying inspired, feeling motivated. To do this, I really had to cut people and things out of my life. Sometimes it involved housework. Most of the time it involved cutting out negative people, or people who were draining on my energy. Let me tell you…this helps! I learned a lot about industry friendships in 2014 and some of those lessons were… harsh to say the least. I got stabbed in the back, burned, cheated, and hurt. The bottom line? Trust no one but yourself and be careful with friends in your industry. I make a list every six months of people or things that are negative in my life or drain my energy and I try to eliminate as many on the list as I possibly can. It came with some tough choices and losses last year, but in the end I am a much happier and healthier person!

I photographed some weddings. Scratch that, I photographed a LOT of weddings. I saw some really beautiful dresses, I met some really amazing couples and I had a pretty amazing year! I also won Planet S”s Best Professional Photographer of 2014 and was I ever surprised! What an amazing honor and so humbling to receive. That was a huge boost for my self confidence and has been keeping me motivated to push forward in my career. I always want to continue to push my boundaries, try new things, improve, improve, improve… I still have SO much to learn!

I took the boys to Mexico for a Christmas vacation and my mom came too! It was AHHMAZING to finally be in Mexico with my family! I have admired Mexico on destination weddings for so long, wishing I could share my experiences with my family and I finally got to! We did one excursion too many (totally my fault for over planning) and I probably had one too many shots of Tequila with my mom (it doesn’t take much for me), resulting in a rather wobbly ride to the airport. OOPS!  It’s definitely something we plan to do again and we all had such a blast!

To sum it up, my year was one busy place to be, and let me tell you it came with it’s real challenges too. Raising three boys on your own is NOT easy. The one thing that is always tiring and never-ending is trying to explain to people why I’m tired and just want to chill out when I finally have a moment of time. They think I just have my business and my editing, but are forgetting I have a family at home, a rather large one, that I am 100% financially and emotionally responsible for all of them and I am on my own. It’s not personal, I just have priorities. The boys are getting larger and smellier, my Costco bill is getting higher, the smell of their feet is getting ranker, the never ending piles of laundry are growing and my house is shrinking more and more every day. It’s definitely been a constant balancing act between work and kids, but it’s something that improves every year. It takes a lot of practice but it can be done!

So what’s up for 2015? I just have this feeling… that it is absolutely going to be an amazing year! So many exciting things happening, so many opportunities, amazing clients, plans, travels, and road trips with the boys.

GUESS WHAT!? It has been over a MONTH since I had my last Pepsi.. (almost 40 days to be exact!) I completely quit pop (with the exception of a little cup on the plane), and I can honestly say it’s probably been 10 years since I went even close to a month without Pepsi or pop. So I am pretty darned proud of myself!

I am ready to shove 2014 out the door. Slam the door in it’s face and never look back. I have some new plans that do not involve things in 2014 and I’ve never been one to linger in my past. Every day, every week, every month I have goals, lists, plans and actions to make it happen. Guess what? I have already been crossing things off my lists. This is the year people!

I have some serious business goals.. I write them down. I have vision boards, I am determined. I have some serious personal goals. I even use stickers like a child to mark my accomplishments. Seriously. I am excited about the year! I am excited about life! I have connected with some amazing people already this year, people that could change the direction of my career and lead to much bigger things! 2015 is the year to hustle and grind. Wake up and hustle. Hustle till you make it!

I’m calling on everyone to make this the year you hustle and make shit happen!

I am still ever growing obsessed with music and I have to admit it’s my favorite part of driving. I am loving so many artists and so many different genres of songs that it makes me crazy sometimes. Even though some of these are sooo old school I wanted to share my ever so clever list of songs that I have been putting on repeat lately! P.S I have to admit I omitted a few songs with especially explicit lyrics

1. Aluna George – You Know You Like It

2. Kelly Rowland – This is Love

3.The Weeknd (Kygo Remix) – Often

4. Birdy – Shelter

5. Popcaan – Unruly Rave

6. I-Octane – Love Di Vibe

7. Davido – Aye

8. ZZ Ward – Last Love Song

9 .Sevyn Streeter ft. Chris Brown – It won’t Stop

10. Elley Duhe – The Little Things

11. Miguel – Simple Things

11. Tinashe – Feels Like Vegas

12. Wilkinson – Afterglow

13. Make It Burn Dem – Skrillex ft. Damian Marley

14. Glycerine – Bush

15.The Fly’s – Got you where I want you

16. Michal Jackson – The way you make me feel

17.Wax – Music & Liquor

18. Akon – Don’t Matter

19. Nelly – Just a Dream

20. Childish Gambino – Sober

I would love to hear from you! What are YOUR hustle plans in 2015? Are you using vision boards, writing lists, keeping a Pinterest Board, etc? What are YOU doing to make it happen?

Love, peace & chicken grease (only sometimes though because it’s fattening) – Martine

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How I really feel about Jamaica.. a personal post :-)

We are outside and the heat is thick.. my hands are literally swollen to the size of small balloons (just a fun perk of being me right now). I am wiping the sweat off my brow and chatting with friends or yelling in their ears over the loud music. Despite my trying to stay still, I just can’t. I find myself involuntarily moving in my seat and wanting to get up and grind my whole body to the vibrant and sexually explosive Jamaican music. I am the only white girl in the place and my red hair and fair skin stick out like a sore thumb, attracting all sorts of wanted and unwanted attention. At times, it can be a little tiresome and all I want to do is fit in. I cover my hotel band with my bracelet and try to look casual, like being thrust into such a foreign way of life is normal for me. I run into some people I met last time I was there.. I can hardly believe I know people here already and it’s a great feeling. I want locals to consider me another local, not some tourist who’s rolling in American money.

I take a cab back home in the darkness. I am crammed in a small car that sounds like it might explode if it moves too fast with a tall dark Jamaican man on my right and a cheerful voluptuous looking woman on my left. They chatter with each other sometimes in Patois (the Jamaican language) and I struggle to understand… if only I had bought some books before I left! They start to chatter with me and within 5 minutes we are exchanging numbers and Facebook info, hoping to connect if I should ever be back in Montego Bay. The general vibe is they just want to show me a good time here in Jamaica and they are always so interested to hear about the weather where I am from. It’s nearing the end of my ride and I hand the cabby $200 Jamaican dollars, which comes to around $2 American or Canadian. No doubt I would be paying an upwards of $30 or $40 American if I had taken the “safer” and registered taxi’s that come straight to the front of my hotel. Again, I don’t want to be some rich bitch perceived by the Jamaican’s, I just want to be treated like everyone else even though my face is white as the moon.

The security guys at the gates of my hotel are by now used to my comings and goings. When I left the first night I was there with friends, they were sure to document my room number, name, the name of the person who was picking me up and the location of where we were headed. By the third day, they just smiled and waved me off as I ran off across the street. One of the security guys later told me him and the other guys were concerned about me, but after watching how I waved away certain cabs and chose specific ones they knew that I knew what I was doing. I was really flattered by this and it made me feel happy to know they no longer just thought of me as some “tourist” – confined to the prison walls of a resort. Don’t get me wrong, my way of travel isn’t for the faint hearted or just anyone, but I question the people who fly all the way across the country just to listen to American music and eat American food at resort buffets, and stay trapped in a bubble of at-home luxury without ever experiencing anything real. I ask myself, what’s the point?

I found myself often moving to Jamaican beats in my head, even when there was no music playing. I felt vibrant, alive, energetic! My skin was also literally starting to glow.. my pimples were disappearing and I felt less self conscious about being a bit bigger than I would like to be at this time. The Jamaican men were quite forward about letting me know how they felt about my appearance. It was always positive and I was flattered at most times. It was a self esteem boost but could also easily get tiring. My nose had cleared up.. I slept like a baby, the best I have slept in so long because I could finally breath. Back home my nose is constantly stuffed up and I often wake up not being able to breath. The only downfall was the sweat… ohhh the sweat. I don’t mind sweating during a workout I’m killing, but to sweat all the time every day for no other reason then just because you are hot and uncomfortable is unattractive to say the LEAST.

My friends are gems.. I made some real connections I feel so good about. There were other people I met and the general over all consensus from a lot of people was that a friendship could be bought and paid for. After all I am from Canada and I MUST be loaded with cash and have plenty to give away at leisure. I am not. My money is worth just as much as theirs is back home and it’s not cheap to live here in Canada. Not cheap at all. I may make more, but I sure spend a hell of a lot more on the necessities of life. There were times I felt taken advantage of and merely used for the hopes of receiving my money. It didn’t feel good and it didn’t feel right. That was the one biggest negative that I have about being in Jamaica. All the more reason fitting in as a local was so important to me. Now let’s be fair… not ALL Jamaican’s are like this. On the opposite end of the spectrum I was treated the best I have been treated by anyone in a long time by my friends, who are all amazing and wonderful people.

The last night in Jamaica my friends took me to a street party… Yes, a real street party in Jamaica. The type of party that would not have been legal anywhere here and totally shut down immediately. Honestly, sometimes I had to take a step back to realize that I was actually there and it was real and this was happening. The sweet smell of pot wafted around and drinks were flowing. The music was sick. I had begun to pick out my favorite songs and move my body freely when they came on. Kartel, and I Octane, Mavado and Lady Saw… have all become household names for me now. Suddenly at some point, the party went from seeing space between people to crammed and jammed up against one another.. in a sea of dark faces I was the only white girl at the party yet again and the guys walking around with video cameras seemed to be attacking me with bright lights. Being there was amazing though, and the feeling was humbling and surreal. I never wanted it to end.  I was feeling good but the last couple of days had exhausted me. By the next morning I was feeling emotional and heavy with regret at the thought of leaving this beautiful tropical paradise. I felt like perhaps I had let myself feel too fast and too much for some of the connections I made and didn’t want it to end.

Yes, I do believe I made real connections and also a couple friends for life. The number one question I am being asked by all is did I find love in Jamaica? Well the answer to that is simple. No. But I believe I could. It would be easy and effortless and it scares me to death. There are some things a girl doesn’t need to share with the world either. What I really need to do now is fall in love with myself.

What are the things I brought back with me that are the most treasured? First and foremost, the memories and the friendships. After that, I would have to say the mixed CD’s of music I bought from random guys selling burnt discs from their cars and on the streets. I still feel like dancing and it has me motivated to start dancing once again. Overall I brought back a sense of myself.. a longing for change and self appreciation. Yes Jamaica will change you and affect you in many ways if you are willing and open to let it in.

Will I be back to Jamaica? I have no plans as of right now to be returning to the beautiful country, but sometimes fate has a way of intervening and whatever is meant to be will be. For now I am studying up on learning some Patois and dancing around the house in my underwear to these ripped Jamaican beats , feeling more free and irie than I have in my life.

*Stay tuned for a mega blog post on the AHHMAZING Wedding I shot in Jamaica and all the fun details behind it and other shoots I did while there!*

Good friends and good vibes

Good friends and good vibes

Adventures in Jamaica Pt 2- My near (camera) death experience with waterwalls!

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Ahhh finally I have come out of my coma of exhaustion and sickness! What a relief after over two weeks! So what have I been up to? Mostly editing, and also trying to clear out my house for a mega-sized garage sale. Time to clear out some of my hoarder style collections and some of my precious photography props. I hate to see them go, but I really can’t keep everything!

So I hope everyone in Saskatoon has been keeping warm, in this deathly horrid weather we have been having. It’s been … epic to say the least. It doesn’t help that my trusty old van left me stranded with the boys at Safeway yesterday and has basically been acting like a piece of junk for the last few weeks. Great.

So let’s talk about my experience with Dunn’s River Falls, which was where we decided to end our day taking photos in beautiful Jamaica! What a fun/scary time! Basically what happened was, I thought I could handle being in the waterfalls as well, with my camera around my neck. However, what I didn’t think about was, how slippery the rocks were, and how it might have benefited me to bring water shoes for this whole scenario. So a few minutes into our session, I stepped off of a log under water and realized that I was tumbling/falling/tripping/slipping deep into a rocky waterfall grave. As I sunk lower and lower and fell more and more I raised my camera higher and higher. Boy, it must have been quite a sight. It might be exaggerating to say that the only thing you could see out of the water was the top of my head, my arm and my camera… but no it was actually pretty close to that. The groom said afterwards he just wasn’t quite sure who to save; the photographer or the camera! When in doubt.. ALWAYS save the camera! I can definitely survive whatever outcome there is from a fall like this, but my camera would not be so lucky. We had a good laugh about it afterwards and we had a lot of fun! So it just proves to those of you who may think my job is all fancy and frills.. I am in the business of taking risks, putting myself in awkward and potentially dangerous situations (I have done everything from laying on my stomach in the middle of a highway, to getting knocked over by strong stormy ocean waves). Is it worth it though? 100% and I will only continue to push my limits AND my camera’s limits until one of us breaks haha hopefully it will be the camera.

I can’t wait to share more of my Jamaica adventures with you all and more great images from this fantastic wedding!

For tonight, I am going to cozy up with my book and maybe even make myself a cup of hot chocolate (if the boys haven’t completely raided the mix already). Get some good zz’s and work like a maniac tomorrow.

Love & peace – M

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography

Jamaica Destination Wedding Photography